What Is Pure Beauty? Essay

2095 words - 9 pages

Everyone has their own idea of what pure beauty is. According to Webster's Dictionary,

the definition of beauty is “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives

pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit” (“Beauty”). However, the

definition of pure beauty has become warped and manipulated into a standard that only a select

few can achieve. Nonetheless, beauty is more than what is behind the counter and computer.

With these high criteria society sets, many women have false ideals of what is truly beautiful

because of the increased use of Photoshop programs, the willingness to put themselves at risk

under a surgeon's scalpel, and many are now spending hundreds of dollars annually on cosmetic

products in order to capture these unattainable stereotypes.

It is no surprise to anyone that advertisements seen on television, in magazines, and on

billboards are Photoshopped, but it is surprising to what extent. According to an anonymous

photo-retoucher, every single image used in advertising has been retouched, whether it is

features like skin, curves, or hair, the industry just redefines the models looks to fit their own

definition of what beauty is. No longer is it just covering up acne or blemishes, now models are

being but on smaller bodies, or fattened up to look healthier. (“100 Percent”). To what extent can

these altered images still be considered human photographs? The celebrities seen on the cover of

People, Vogue, Redbook, and countless other magazines, are not as flawless as they appear.

Even though as a society it is realized that there is some Photoshop behind the images, the extent

Ashbaugh 2

to which it is applied is what is not recognized. However, considering the photographs no longer

human is not the only problem with Photoshopped pictures, but the effects they have on

vulnerable teens and young girls’ self esteems is concerning. In a study conducted by the

University of Central Florida psychology professor Stacey Tantleff-Dunn, “Nearly half of the 3-

to 6-year-old [studied] said they worry about being fat. About one-third would change a physical

attribute, such as their weight or hair color” (Tantleff-Dunn). Girls aged three to six should not

have these insecurities, especially at such a young age. The findings of a German research group

only prove the numbers do not improve as girls grow older, unfortunately. The German research

team found that “After surveying nearly 7,000 11- to 17-year-olds, asking them to describe their

bodies[,] options included far too thin, a bit too thin, just the right weight, a bit too fat and far too

fat. About 75 percent of the kids fell into the normal-weight category. However, half the normal-
weight girls and a quarter of the normal-weight boys still described themselves as being too fat.

When those teens were given quality-of-life and self-esteem tests, normal-weight children who

believed they were...

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