Beauty and the Illusion

Being someone who’s been involved with the beauty industry in one way or another, has given me a clear picture of how many men and women view their own beauty.

Let me start off by saying, that I am very much included within this picture, because I have to always keep a close check on my own self-view, and be aware of what’s real and what’s illusion.

Through the years, I’m gradually leaning to accept the things I cannot change about my physical self, and at the same time, accept the things I am.

Much of how people think of themselves as being beautiful, has to do with the comparisons they make, to what the beauty industry defines as beautiful…

*The most beautiful skin, hair, body weight, teeth, and on and on…

At one time, it use to only be women who were concerned about beauty, but in the past 20 years, I’ve noticed that men have become equally as concerned, as well. Things like: working-out, dieting, facials, and even cosmetic surgery are shared by both genders.

However, it’s no longer about simply staying healthy and looking good. It’s become an obsession.

Personally, I find that women feel more of the pressure of maintaining a certain “image” of beauty, simply because of the way our society is.

And I think that’s very unfair.

I watch, how many women (of all ages) struggle to maintain this image, to the point of exhausting themselves into depression.

And for what? To maintain an image that someone else has created for them?

I’m not saying that men don’t feel certain pressures too. But society does not place the same amount of emphasis of physical beauty on men, as they do women.

In my opinion, beauty magazines are one of the most powerfully subliminal influences of showing people how they should look. And this is why I DO NOT read them.

I use to work as a makeup artist for several professional photographers. And when I tell you just how much photographs are “touched-up” through computer technology, to make the models (female and male) look as though they appear FLAWLESS…is no joke.

We’ve gotten to the point where no matter how much we change our appearance, it’s never enough…because we continually look at these images and compare.

We have forgotten our own unique beauty.

Yes, the beauty industry has provided us with some of the most breathtaking images….

Illusions.



28 comments

  1. Well, Ron, I for one have never been one to buy into all of the unnatural beauty that "the industry" markets.
    Although my family is seriously f'ed up in other ways, they did always always tell me I was beautiful as a child and as a young woman. So I have always had a good self esteem. My body is what it is right now. I have given birth to 4 kids. It is not pretty. I never have looked like a model and I never will. That's ok with me.
    But do think that it should be a crime for this industry to poison little girls minds with unrealistic image. It is kind of disgusting actually. This is one of the many reasons why we limit our childrens access to TV, internet, magazines, etc.

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  2. Could not agree with you more.

    Cheers from Australia .....

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  3. We do all have our own "beauty," Ron but it's hard to compete with the manipulated images we are constantly bombarded with. I never read "beauty or fashion" magazines either. Boring! But can't help but be assualted by them in stores. Unless the media and society all wake up at the same time, we'll just have to endure.

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  4. We must be in sync or something as just LAST night I was working on a photo of myself for my sidebar. I say 'working on' because it has to be cropped and highlighted, etc. before it can go 'public'. LOL This really explains Neptune on the Midheaven perfectly. LOL
    When I first started blogging I had just my face as my display picture. I used a pic from a few years ago when I was thinner, and wearing fabulous purple sunglasses. Even tho hub doesn't generally read my blog, he saw the pic one day I had the page up and didn't really like it, thought it looked 'weird'. But the blog wasn't about him, it was about me, so it stayed for awhile. I sort of had a sarcastic look and it seemed like my personality.
    After I gained a good bit of weight I became very self-conscious about what photos people saw.
    I have the big program Photoshop and even though I do not know how to work most of it yet, I found a button called 'liquify' and it's sooooo easy to take a few pounds off now. LOL It makes me feel better to do that not because I'm trying to be deceitful but having the daily reminders in the mirror is hard enough. So to see myself 20 lbs. or so less helps somehow? It's hard to explain. Maybe it's like when some people put a good picture of themselves on their refridgerator as incentive for a diet. But as I get older, dieting is becoming more difficult. Knowing how most of the women in my family were bigger boned or heavy bothers me at times. And I know that it shouldn't. I love people for the way they are personally, their kindness, their humor, their way with others, their generosity, the love they give, etc. I've never gravitated toward anyone because of the way they looked or the way they didn't and I don't judge people physically.

    While many in my family were a little larger, most of my hubs family are the opposite. His sister was Miss New Jersey many years ago. Actually was a runner up in the Miss USA pageant too. She's tall and thin. She tans beautifully. I see the couple little flaws she has as we're the same age and have to deal with some gray hairs or a couple wrinkles but at the same time I also see how hard some of it must be to maintain. Even though she can pretty much eat anything, she does workout alot and is active all the time! She models occasionally, and her weight has to be maintained. She does tanning all summer at the shore, she's had her teeth straightened, etc. If she gained 3 lbs. her husband would notice. While I'm not jealous... I definitely wouldn't want her life... I do sometimes get frustrated because even if I ran 10 hours a day on a treadmill going at full speed, I would never be her size. I'd be dead from a heart attack, but not be thin. So it really is about being accepting of what we each have. I know some of my gifts, and am pretty down to earth about alot of things, but I also fall victim to seeing those photos in magazines... even though I KNOW many, if not all, have been touched up in some way I still feel that slight pang of wanting to be that.

    Oooh, I feel like I just had a therapy session. LOL

    Anyhoo, the picture/s that may or may not appear on my sidebar will be obviously hightlighted in some way. The particular one I was working on last night I didn't suck off 20 lbs as it was from maybe a year or two ago and I didn't have to. LOL

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  5. Morning Nicole~

    GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

    (anyway...I've always told you, you already look like a movie star!!!)

    And YES...this obsession with beauty is starting at much younger age, more and more - and it's the media. So BRAVO to you for limiting your childrens exposure!

    Reading Dr. Seuss and drinking hot chocolate is so much more fun!!!

    Great seeing ya, Nicole. And thanks for sharing!

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  6. Greetings Dave~

    It's NICE seeing you!

    The whole "beauty thing" gets to me sometimes...so I needed to vent!#!@!@!

    Tee, hee!

    Thanks for dropping by, sir!

    Enjoy your day!

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  7. Morn'in Nitebyrd~

    GOOD FOR YOU!

    I agree, the fashion magazines ARE kind of boring, aren't they?

    And yet, there was a time in my life when I idolized them!

    You said it, Nitebyrd...unless the media and society wake up TOGETHER...

    Because each FEEDS off one another!

    Great seeing you, dear lady!

    And thanks for sharing!

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  8. Good Morning Dear CrystalChick~

    I just LOVE your comments!

    Thank you for always saying what wish!

    Your comment was filled with so many wonderful insights...but I think what your saying (as I am with this post)it all comes down to....

    ACCEPTANCE and being REALISTIC.

    I have nothing at ALL against using beauty products, working out, cosmetic surgery...none of it.

    However, when it's being used to compare to illusional images...I believe it's unhealthy.

    I'm VAIN. There's no doubt about it. So I too have to watch myself.

    Hey...that is SOOO cool about the Photoshop software. See what I mean? ANYTHING can be manipulated to appear a certain way. So that's what I mean about beauty magazines. It's one thing to correct something about the models make up...but when every facial line and imperfection is removed...it's not even REAL anymore, ya know?

    It's funny...because what I saw as beautiful YEARS ago...is nothing like what I see as beautiful NOW.

    Is always a pleasure shairing with you, M. Thanks for adding your wonderful spirit here!

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  9. I agree Ron, great post.

    Rebekah

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  10. Ron~
    As a once professional photographer, and CS3 wizard, i know all to well of the illusions you speak of. It was a grueling business, and I can still remember my boss who used to crawl my ass because i refused to wear makeup. I would stand there and listen to her tirade and then say " Wren, i am behind the camera, not in front of it, It doesn't matter. These girls don't see me, they don't care."
    After 2 years of starving teenage girls and OCD models whose neurotics became terrifying, I quit.
    I often use the apple metaphor with my daughter...would she like to be an apple that is glossy and perfect, but when you cut into it, it's rotten and wormy, or the apple that has a few dimples, but is sweet and tasty?
    I am with nicole, the best way to keep the industry from polluting my kids is no TV, and limited access to the web.
    Their insecurities come from peer pressure, that with any luck they will out grow.
    I worked for contruso and next, in NYC, any chance you were one of the paste plasterers wandering about?

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  11. Ron...um. *cough...cough* I don't buy those beauty mags either.

    Excuse me...NO those aren't my beauty mags under the couch. How the hell did they get there? hehehe...I'm busted!

    I just look at them for the pictures... not the articles. I also never buy them...I steal them. I steal them from my hair consulant, Paullalo. Who I suspect...now suspects that I suspect that he suspects...that I'm the reason his 'Beauty Mag' pile is much smaller than before. HUH?

    Did I make sense there?

    I know what you mean...I like people for who they are...I don't care about appearance...I've seen some "ugly" inside very beautiful people. Like ex-g/f Leigh, I'm so going to introduce her to Rat Girl's Chopper. Ahem.

    I think it's the heart that makes the most beautiful human beings on the planet...what is inside of them pulls me to them or repells me.

    It's the beauty and beast story, but in reality there is no beast...just beautiful beople if their hearts are beautiful.

    Ron, can I still keep my beauty mags? :D

    loved your post sweetie...I really like you. You're a beautiful person.

    Ciao babes.

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  12. you are soooo right! I am always preaching this to my girlfriends!

    I am so glad that I don't take all that stuff as serious as some people I know who have as you say - fallen into depression and are never happy with themselves!

    They waste so much time fussing about what other people are thinking of their appearance when they really should be spending their precious time being themselves and not somebody else!

    I'm more of a goofball myself! I get more satisfaction out of taking the piss out of myself and ,making others laugh rather then having people see me as 'flawless'!

    Heck! You've seen my RAT GRL faces!! :-D

    It's very sad though that society has come to this though... because unfortunately a lot of women do suffer with this... especially teens.

    Great post Ronnie! xx

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  13. The body perfect is what most of us want and few of us have. But it not the shiny new Cadillac that gets you there it is that person inside that does the driving. That is the real person, the one who counts. It does not make a difference what the driver looks like it is the skills and the love of the life of a driver that makes the differnce. We all want to be washed and waxed yet we know that without the soul of the person behind the wheel then nothing happens and we get nowhere.

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  14. Evening Bekah~

    Thank you!

    I see this happening more and more...and it makes me sad to know that many people keep running after what's not REAL.

    Thanks for stopping by, dear lady...always nice seeing you!

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  15. This was a very nice post, Ron. I couldn't agree with you more.

    What's your take on Barbies? Growing up, I loved my Barbies, yet I don't feel like I was obsessed with looking a certain why and I didn't judge others because of the perfect Barbie shape.

    I know some moms who refuse to let their children play with Barbies, so I was just wondering what you thought.

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  16. Evening Lady Sorrow~

    Thank you so much for sharing what said in your comment.

    And I TOALLY agree with every single word!!!

    And GREAT metaphor about the APPLE!!!

    I actually worked for different photographers in Florida. Mainly, I worked with actors, professional models, musicians, and beauty pagents. I also worked with stage makeup.

    And like YOU...I found it extremely stressful.

    At one time, I worked for different international makeup companies as a regional makeup artist, and traveled to different stores for events. Even that was stressful, because it was more about how much a customer bought, rather than artistry.

    This is WHY I no longer do this work.

    I do enjoy working with makeup, however, I taught the application, more as an enhancement to what's ALREADY there.

    Thanks for stopping by today, Lady Sorrow...you always add wonderful wisdom!

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  17. Howdy Spiky~

    YES...you can keep your beauty magazines!!!

    And that's SOOO freaking FUNNY how you STEAL them from your styist!

    I believe we ALL have done that at one time or another. I use to get the cute elderly ladies in my salon...who would RIP out the recipes and shove them into their purse.

    ( I always pretended I didn't notice)

    Thank you so much for your comment. They whole meaning and energy of your words, was exactly the message behind this post. You said it perfectly!

    We often forget to see the beauty that's INSIDE!

    Thanks for adding your wonderful energy to this blog, Spiky!

    I'm so glad we've met!

    It's a pleasure having you here!

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  18. Evening Giggle~

    Oh...but I think Rat Girls face is FLAWLESS!!!

    As well as Giggles!!!

    You're a very wise lady, to see the illusion that has been placed before us.

    And I totally agree...it's even more common amongst TEENS. And it's sad. Being a teenager is difficult as it is. It's a very vulnerable time in our lives when we're getting a "sense" for ourselves. And all this beauty illusion adds so much confusion, ya know?

    Thanks for sharing your feelings and insight to this post, Giggle!

    So glad you're here!

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  19. Howdy Rhea~

    OH MY GOD!!!

    You're NOT going to believe this...but I had originally planned on using a Ken and Barbie doll photo in the close of this post!!!!

    That is SOO intuitive of you!!!

    I changed my mind, only because the photo that I decided to use...fit more of the beauty magazine illusion I was talking about.

    I personally LOVE Barbie dolls, and if I had a child, would totally allow them to play with them.

    (after all Barbie has been around a LONG time)

    But I can also can see a parents choice (especiall in today's world concerning the "Barbie Image), how they would prefer not to allow their children to play with them.

    I think years ago, Barbie was simply a doll for girls to play with, however, as the years have progressed, Barbie has acquired a sort of beauty attainment.

    Jeeeees!

    I'm so glad I grew up when I did!!

    I'm from the "I Love Lucy" age, when everything was silly!

    Thank you very much for adding your thoughts and feelings to this post, Rhea.

    You've given me something to think about.....BARBIE!!!!

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  20. Evening Dear Dave~

    BRAVO!

    Thank you so much for your WONDERFUL metaphor!!!!

    You said it with HUMOR and WISDOM!

    And you are SOOOO right, my friend!

    Damn...you're good!

    Thanks for your light, Dave!

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  21. ron, you really touched on a hot topic here. Our society has gone so far overboard on looks it is staggering.

    I look at pictures of my body when i was in my twenties and think, "wouldn't it be nice to be that thin still." but that's about as far as it goes. I'm sooo glad I (or Lisa) don't obsess about our appearence.

    One of the great things about blogging is our friendships are based on the words we exchange and not on physical trappings.

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  22. Howdy Jeff~

    Good for you and Lisa!

    Hey...that's a GREAT point you made about how our blog friendships are based on the words we exchange and not on physical trappings.

    You're so right!

    One of the things I really enjoy about aging...is coming to the point of letting go of a lot of things that I use to hold on to when I was younger.

    There's a wonderful freedom in that!

    Thanks for stopping by tonight, Jeff...and for adding your thoughts and feelings to this post!

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  23. Ron~ Saw the Barbie doll comment and had to share this gem...
    I do allow my daughter to play with Barbies, and when she was very little,( maybe 3) we had to share a shower together, She asks me " Mommy why do you have a hairy but?" I of course explained that it wasn't my but, and that all grown up girls have hair there. She said " well when I grow up I am NOT going to have a hairy but!" I said " um yes you are, unless you shave it all off." She looked up at me all knowing and said " when I grow up I am going to look just like Barbie, and Barbie does NOT have a hairy but!"
    How do you argue with that wisdom?
    ~snicker~

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  24. Holy Shit, Sorrow!!!!

    That was HYSTERCAL!!!!!

    I was just sipping my morning coffee when I read your comment, and almost spit it out!!!!

    Oh, god...don't you just LOVE children????

    (boy...Ken is even MORE confusing...he's got NOTHING!)

    Thank you so much for stopping back and sharing that wonderful story!!!

    Enjoy your day, dear Sorrow!

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  25. I have to admit something here Ron - my name is vanity. :(

    I spent so many of my formative years thinking I was 'just not pretty enough' that it's a hard habit to break. However, I am getting there in that it doesn't bother me too much what other people think anymore. I do look after myself - hair, make-up, clothes, but I realise I can't compete with 'models' so I don't! Anyway MWM loves me just the way I am. Thanks for the insight into the beauty business, it's good to know that all those perfect women are just airbrushed. :)

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  26. Evening Akelamalu~

    Me too...I'm definately VAIN. I think most of us have a touch of vanity in there, somewhere!

    So, as I shared...I have to watch myself too.

    And being young, when our self-image is starting to form, it's very challenging not to compare ourselves to what most people feel is beautiful. Especially in school.

    But I think as we mature, we get a clearer vision and acceptance for what we are.

    That's the great thing about aging!

    The beauty industry can play havock with our self-image. And that's the reason for this post.

    The Illusion.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your feelings, dear lady. You always add much!

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  27. Excellent post!

    I so agree. I think true beauty comes from within.

    I feel sorry for anyone (male or female) that doesn't realize that.
    Some shallow souls out there.

    Funny thing..I stopped dying my hair a few years ago and I get more compliments now. I have silver in the front..(like Lily on the Munsters hee, hee). People ask me if I had it done!!

    You are a beautiful soul!

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  28. Good Evening Lily Munster!

    tee, hee!

    Oh....that's so funny.

    People ask you WHERE you had it done????

    NATURE!

    You know something? When I was a hairstylist, I constantly use to tell my clients who were graying...to just allow it to be. I've always been someone who finds gray hair very attractive. And when I saw my very first gray hair on my head...I got excited!!!!

    I've seen one too many people get so frustrated, over trying to change their appearance to match a magazine model...that I wanted to share this post.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and always adding your beautiful energy here, dear Gypsy-Heart.

    Ciao bella!

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