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Photoshop my ass! (…please?) July 5, 2010

Posted by jeneypeney in all growed up, femme writes, girl problems, life, piss and moan, pop culture, the 'f' word.

On the 5th of every month, bloggers from around the world are open to write about rights and issues concerning women. First started by Shine and Marie, we’re hoping to bring a variety of women’s issues to the forefront to make people aware of what’s going on. For the month of July, we’ve chosen to write about Body Image. Please join us in telling us your stories, thoughts, and ideas on a monthly basis. To read previous installments, click here.


I am not going to lie, I have struggled with my own body image for as long as I can remember. But at the same time, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with the theory of it. I even spent the majority of my junior and senior year of college researching  the effects of alcohol and liquor advertising on women’s self-body image for my undergraduate thesis.*

I took a class called Theory of Female Beauty my senior year where we had one assignment in which we all had to select a picture of ourselves and manipulate it to make ourselves “ideal” and “ugly”.

This is the photo I started with:

Not too shabby, if I say so myself…

This is what happened when I gave myself more make-up, bigger boobs, more blonde hair, and smoother skin:

I didn’t even think the original picture was bad until I did this assignment…

And for a good laugh, this is what I did to make myself “ugly”:

What Shrek looks like on acid.

Pretty ridiculous, huh?

To be completely frank, there is absolutely no reason for me to have issues with how my body looks. I am 5’2″, about  130 lbs, with 35, 31, 39 measurements. But when I look in the mirror every morning? I see a less than perfect woman staring back at me who could use a chin reduction and a couple hundred more sit-ups at the gym.

And the most frustrating and infuriating part about this? I hold a minor in Women’s Studies from a prestigious all women’s college. I know this “perfect figure” we are all chasing after is as realistic as sparkly vampires and horcruxes.  I know all those magazine covers are photoshopped to high hell and back. I know this.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know this.

I really wish I had some sort of earth-shattering and mind-blowing way to end to this post – but there is nothing I can say that has not been said before…

Just take a close look at the images I posted – and remember them the next time you see Charlize Theron or Matthew McConaughey looking all sexy and perfect on a magazine cover. It didn’t take millions of hours at the gym and a diet of Fiji water and carrots to look like that – it took a couple clicks and a few brush strokes.

*If anyone wants to read all the mumbo-jumbo I wrote, presented, and defended – shoot me and e-mail and I can send it to you.



1. Femme Writes – Body Image « Femme Writes - July 5, 2010

[…] Jeney Peney’s Photoshop my ass! (…please?) […]

2. Marie - July 5, 2010

Like you said, there is NOTHING wrong with your original picture. In fact I honestly think you look a heck of a lot better in it than the first photoshopped one.

And you’re right, all those images we see are photoshopped. NO ONE looks that perfect.

Great post and thanks for contributing!!

Just A Girl - July 5, 2010

I’m with Marie, I thought the first picture was the best. I think you’re adorable. I know how you feel though – every day I’m like “God, if I just had braces and a chin implant, and maybe a nose job, and…” and then I have to make myself remember that I’m FINE the way I am.

3. Heather - July 5, 2010

I love your post! Reminds me I need to write mine 🙂 Could you email your thesis? I would love to read it. My email is heather.becker@yahoo.com

4. Vegetable Assassin - July 5, 2010

Yeah the worst thing is all those teenage girls just starting out, believe that magazine covers are real and all those women are that flawless and perfect. It’s damaging. When ten year olds are requesting salads and refusing to eat regular food, there’s something wrong.

And I thought it was cool when Jessica Simpson did that cover recently without any of those things (including make up) although I’m sure someone made her hair look fab and the lighting soft too, because she looked pretty good regardless. As does your original photo. Anyone can get a stylist and their stuff photoshopped, but it’s important young girls don’t think that resulting look is something to aspire to. Or any of us. No wonder women get so many complexes about looks. You can never be smooth enough or thin enough or perfect enough. And we buy it. Look at commercials geared towards women. They’re always about selling your gold to buy shoes, or eating foods with no fat or sugar, or minimizing your wrinkles because, HORROR you cannot have imperfect skin no matter what your age. Superficiality at its best.

5. jules - July 6, 2010

I actually think you’re first picture is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!

6. cari - July 7, 2010

first things first… you look WAY different than i pictured you. i know that i had nothing to go on, but it just always surprises me when i FINALLY see a picture of a blogger and they ALWAYS look different than i pictured. just had to share.

second, I KNOW, RIGHT?!?! i get annoyed by the idea that we as people, men and women, need to all look the same. women are “supposed” to look like barbie or a skeleton and men are supposed to be rock hard carved musclage everywhere. in WHAT WORLD is that realistic? i’ve been watching a lot of star trek lately, and even THOSE worlds aren’t like that. anyway, i came across an OLD OLD blog post basically about the same thing. and i concluded the post by saying that my problems were the media’s fault. partly true, but partly me not wanting to take responsibility for anything. it’s hard to wake up everyday, look at an unphotoshopped body and find it beautiful. in fact, i think it’s probably impossible. no matter how many times those around us tell us we’re beautiful, tell us WHAT is beautiful about us, etc., etc., we’re still going to look in the mirror and wish that things were just a little different.

oh media… why do you torture us so?

7. cari - July 7, 2010

ps. i’d totally be interested in reading your thesis as well. forgot that little part.

8. carissa - July 8, 2010

You’re beautiful lady, just as pretty in your 1st pic as the photoshopped one. But I definitely feel the same way. Frustrated. I know with every bone in my body that I’m never going to be perfect, and nor do I really strive to be.. but it’s still frustrating that I feel like some people believe there are “perfect” people out there.

9. Pauline - August 18, 2010

Photoshop really bothers me! One particularly crazy example of such a practice is on womens fitness magazines. They promise you that if you follow their diet recipes and exercise tips, you will look like the models in the pictures who are pretty much mannequins with all the regular female quirks removed. (ie. acne, celulite, etc.)

They really should use real and untouched women in their magazines as something women can actually strive to resemble. 🙂

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