Mirror, Mirror

6 May

Norman Rockwell triple self-portrait

In recent articles (The Hollywood Beauty Part 1, 2, and 3) we have discussed the issues with age and beauty in Hollywood, especially among women.  Today, our article will focus on how we view and interpret the person we see in the mirror.With the use of photoshop and plastic surgery, it is much easier for us to be harsher on our physical appearances than ever before.   According to Women’s Health,

Women are constantly bombarded with ‘Barbie Doll-like’ images. By presenting an ideal that is so difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. It’s no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as an essential criterion of beauty. The message we’re hearing is either ‘all women need to lose weight’ or that the natural aging process is a “disastrous” fate.”[1]

The majority of media, social and otherwise, tells us that happiness is found in how we look.  It’s no secret that there are many A-D list celebrities in Hollywood that have gone under the knife, whether they admit to it or not.  Between plastic surgery and airbrushing, these men and women always “look” fantastic.

How does this make those who already struggle with accepting their natural beauty feel better?  What does this teach our children about seeing people for who they are and not what they look like?

In 2004, Dove launched its Real Beauty Campaign after doing a study on how women perceive themselves.  Only 2% of the women around the world described themselves as beautiful.  In 2010, “Dove® evolved the campaign and launched an unprecedented effort to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety, with the Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem.” [2]  In 2011, they revisted their earlier study and discovered that women around the world who viewed themselves as beautiful had gone up 2%.  Unfortunately in a study of 1200 girls (age 10-17), 72% felt extreme pressure to be beautiful. The latest video from Dove focuses on how women see themselves and how others see that same individual.  Hopefully as women begin to find ways to empower themselves at home, their community, workplace, and social circles, the ability to see their natural beauty will rise.

*Note: LIH recognizes that men also deal with body image and self-esteem.  We chose to focus on women, however, please let us know if you would like an article that focuses on men’s self-image*

58 Responses to “Mirror, Mirror”

  1. Open Book May 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM #

    LB- Very interesting article and study. Wow! The Dove video is very telling about what we value as well. I have more to add but wanted to say great topic.

    • littlebells May 6, 2013 at 12:42 PM #

      Thank you OB. I saw the video first and decided to do an article from it. Short article, but lots to discuss. 🙂

      • Open Book May 6, 2013 at 6:32 PM #

        I think the women in the Dove video were very courageous. I know I could not do it. I’ve drawn my self portraits a few times for class and I’m always shocked. CR draws me much better than I do. Hahaha!

        U know I had students draw themselves in a drawing class and then had them switch and draw each other. Its amazing how different they saw themselves and each other.

  2. Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:13 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:14 PM #

      Hi OB!

      • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM #

        Hi LB & Oz!

        How are u?

        • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:29 PM #

          ok to severe round ligament pain. Right now, I’m good.

          • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM #

            Ouch! I hope it doesn’t come back or if it does that it goes soon.

            I’m still going through a very tired phase but apart from that I’m good.

            How are you OB?

          • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

            LB- That’s sounds uncomfortable. Hope it passes soon. U are a trooper!

            Oz-I’m good!

  3. ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 7:15 PM #

    Hi everyone! I hope I got the right day (it doesn’t feel like a tuesday to me, lol).

    I love the article LB! I was hoping to discuss Dove at some point (I like their campaigns). Just watching the video at the moment.

    • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:20 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!

      I’m glad you like it. I love the Dove videos too. 🙂

      • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 7:24 PM #

        Hi LB!

        I got all teary eyed over the real sketches video.

        • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:26 PM #

          Did you know there are people who DISLIKED it? Obviously they didn’t see it for what it was..http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-hate-doves-real-beauty-ad-2013-4

          • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 8:30 PM #

            Hmmm, this could be a long post! Lol. 🙂

            The video only focuses on a very small subset of women.

            I had noticed that and it did bother me a bit, but my opinion is at least it’s a start. Not that long ago it would feature only white people.

            The ad might teach what it preaches against — that beauty is paramount.

            It would be nice to live in a world where beauty doesn’t matter but unfortunately we don’t. The way we look is important to how we socialise and has been for millennia. Which bird males get the most females bird? The brightest one with the best dance skills and the prettiest song! How do pack animals determine one group from another rival group? Looks! Sure we’ve evolved but our base instincts run deep. It’s how we choose a mate and it helps to protect ourselves. Kind of sad but true!

            Furthermore, it could even make women more self-conscious for having a real, as opposed to “imaginary” mole.

            Please! What woman doesn’t know her every flaw? None that I know! And we all think the flaw is much larger and more visable than what it actually is. I only see it helping, or at least it would for me!

            The ad blames women, rather than society, for critiquing the smallest physical imperfection.

            True, women judge women but men judge men. Then women judge men and men judge women! See above for the rest of the point I’m make. Again it would be nice to live in a judge free world!

            Women don’t want to be seen as victims. It’s patronizing.

            True! However if someone is hurt by something, then they are a victim like it or not. That is it’s basic definition. The important part to focus on is the patronizing part which happens alot no matter the gender or the “crime.” Also what is patronizing for one person isn’t for another. What if it actually helps some women? Is it really so bad then? Are we over reacting?

            The sketch artist was a man

            Totally moot point… And a little sexist.

            It’s hypocritical for an ad aiming to instill healthy body images to come from Unilever, a company that makes a business of marginalizing women in Axe campaigns.

            Now this I totally agree with!

            I hope that all made sense!

            • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:47 PM #

              That was great and made perfect sense. It was a short clip and they did show some women of different ethnicity. Again, they weren’t interviewed, but like you said it’s a start. Also, I feel like that author’s audience completely missed the point. Like you said, we know our own flaws and I don’t know too many women, adjusted or otherwise, who would say, “I have a fabulous nose! My eyes sparkle when I smile!” Maybe you do, but then you might come across as arrogant. I think the reaction when seeing their pictures was the most important part of the video. You could see those that were happy and ok with what they saw and those who just couldn’t believe someone else saw them so much more beautifully.

              • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 8:53 PM #

                Yes! I agree, the women’s reactions are what I focused on. I felt that was the main point rather than if the video was anti women or patronizing.

            • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 9:05 PM #

              Wow! Oz! Great analysis and ITA they are blaming women for a problem companies like Dove has used to profit off of. U are right it is hypocritical. Anyway, great observation all around.

            • Open Book May 8, 2013 at 8:29 AM #

              Oz-U said: “Also what is patronizing for one person isn’t for another. What if it actually helps some women? Is it really so bad then? Are we over reacting?”

              It’s well known the media and society like to over generalize and section people into groups etc. Why? People are easier to control and manipulate when in groups. The only problem with that we loose our identity and creativity. Like u said Oz. What is patronizing for one person isn’t for another because everyone has different experiences. My point? If we end up hurt by something that’s ignored by the majority aren’t we in fact alone or a “victim” anyway? Then that hurt individual is faced with how to react? Should they speak up and risk being singled out from the group? or keep quiet and hope the hurt goes away through self medication. Unfortunately, the suffer in silence approach is often chosen which is a shame because society and they pass on an opportunity to grow and learn. It would be interesting to know if the people who disliked the campaign are the majority. Great thoughts and perspectives on this topic Oz & LB.

      • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:26 PM #

        The Photshop video is no surprise. However, do u think with more videos like this young girls today might have a better view on reality?

        • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:29 PM #

          Quite possibly. it made me feel better! haha!!! Before photoshop and all that great airbrushing, my friend had clamps used on the back of her thighs to pull back the “fat”. Cheese and crackers!!!

          • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:36 PM #


            • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 7:42 PM #

              That’s got to hurt so much!

        • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 7:31 PM #

          Yes, I think they might. Or at least taught about self perception vs how others see you because the difference is usually vast. People are always harder on themselves than they are with others.

          • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:38 PM #

            So True! Why do u think people are harder on themselves than they are with others?

            • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:46 PM #

              Great question! I think we tend to be a comparative people, and unless someone teaches us to accept who we are as we are, it’s not going to get better. I love seeing actors and actresses who don’t fit the physical norm of HW. Hats off to them!

              • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:54 PM #

                Yes! I like diversity too. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying people who are thin with an over active metabolism are healthy because there are thin people who are just as unhealthy as someone overweight.

  4. Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:19 PM #

    “What does this teach our children about seeing people for who they are and not what they look like?”

    Of course so much focus on outer beauty gives people who are attractive a false sense of security. However for those who struggle may feel the need to overcompensate but in the end inward beauty trumps outer in the long run. I don’t think I answered your Q. Hahaha!

    • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:25 PM #

      haha! It seems there is a fine balance between being attractive and not letting your “good looks” get in the way of who you are inside. I think if we as adults focus on the physical, inevitably our children will as well. Also, telling a child what makes them beautiful (sweetness, personality, sense of humor, etc) instills a good sense of inner security that no matter how they look on the outside, it’s what’s INSIDE that’s shining through. My daughter knows she’s beautiful when she wakes up with her hair all over the place and “sleep” in her eyes. She just looks extra beautiful when we brush it out and put a bow in it.

      • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:34 PM #

        Now this is so true! And I love your story about your daughter. Its so important to instill inner security at an early age it will save them much heartache later in life.

  5. littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:31 PM #

    Just a few who were told to get some “work done”, but refused:

    • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:47 PM #

      O.k. I have a problem with the weight thing. I mean there is a difference between being obese and having a healthy curvy figure. People should try to be healthy inside and out IMO.

      • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:53 PM #

        I agree. Treating your insides healthy is just as important.

  6. littlebells May 7, 2013 at 7:54 PM #

    OB and Ozzie,

    how do men in HW fair with all of this? Do they get off a little more easily in the looks department?

    • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 7:58 PM #

      Hmm! No, I think today women putting up these fan sites drooling over men’s physical attributes really marginalize men like men do women which is sad.

      • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM #

        Nope. I’ve heard of pressure being applied to men in the fashion and film industries. Fashion seems to be the worst of the two. I read somewhere that eating disorders are on the rise for men.

        I also agree with what OB said. Just because women have been marginalize, does not mean men should be. Especially if the attitude is just giving men a taste of their own medicine. The issue is equality for both sexes, not the rise of one and the down fall of the other.

        • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:42 PM #

          And not just eating disorders, but plastic surgery and hair coloring. Let it be known that after a year of letting my gray grow in, I am OWNING IT AND LOVING IT!!! I may be young, but man if I don’t feel liberated! 🙂

          • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 8:52 PM #

            THAT”S AWESOME LB! I’ve always loved premature gray. It’s cool.

        • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 8:50 PM #

          ITA Oz! It’s about equality not revenge. I honestly believe women who marginalize men hate themselves. It makes NO SENSE!

  7. littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:07 PM #

    Who are some of your favorite actors/actresses that have refused to let HW dictate what is attractive?

    • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 8:21 PM #

      Viola Davis, Idris Elba, Don Cheadle these are just a few. The reason I selected these actors because of their beautiful skin tone.

      • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

        I do envy those with darker skin tones. They age so well!

        I like Susan Sarandon, meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Viola Davis, and Stanley Tucci, just to name a few.

        • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:31 PM #

          I don’t think Mickey Rourke or Burt Reynolds should ever have gone under the knife. They were FINE to begin with.

          • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 8:36 PM #

            OMGosh! Yes! But I think MR had to because of his boxing.

            That’s what I like about Barbara Streisand she never got a nose job.

            • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:37 PM #

              I know Lea Michelle didn’t get work done because of Barbra. I’ve honestly always found Barbra attractive.

              • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 8:42 PM #

                Tina Fey. She has a scar running across her cheek and it’s never stopped her!

                • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:43 PM #

                  LOVE HER! I honestly have to look real hard for her scar because her personality overshadows it by a million percent.

                  • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

                    Yes! Her inner beauty out shines it. I read a good quote the other day that could put it much more eloquently, except I forgot where I saw it!

                    • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 9:07 PM #

                      Darn it. I like a good quote.

        • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 8:41 PM #

          I like Susan Sarandon and all the ones u named. I think being healthy and aging naturally is much more attractive.

      • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 8:33 PM #

        Let me just add. These actors can’t change their skin color like getting a nose job or losing weight etc.. Instead they have to rely on their craft even more because its known HW favors the more late skin tons of black actors. This to me makes them attractive.

        • littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:36 PM #

          yes, absolutely. And I appreciate all ethnicities that embrace their heritage and not try to conform.

  8. littlebells May 7, 2013 at 8:41 PM #


    I need to go for the evening. Thank you for indulging me in this conversation. I really love Dove’s ads and appreciate our plus size store and models at my local mall. God doesn’t make mistakes. Everyone is beautiful and I think it’s great that we do have organizations that are working hard to promote that internal beauty and acceptance. 🙂

    • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 8:44 PM #

      Goodnight LB! Great topic and discussion as always.

      • ozzie20 May 7, 2013 at 9:05 PM #

        Aww LB! I think I’m getting teary eyed again. You are are correct though! Inner beauty makes everyone beautiful no matter how “ugly” the person thinks they are. 🙂

        Night everyone! It’s been a great discussion. 🙂

        • Open Book May 7, 2013 at 9:10 PM #

          Goodnight Oz! I’m going to head out as well. Great discussion and observations everyone.

  9. Comic Relief May 8, 2013 at 5:04 AM #

    Sorry I missed the discussion, yet I understand why one might find the discussion difficult.

    I don’t want to appear to be critical but I have lived in parts of the US that aren’t nearly as image conscious as Hollywood.

    Because there are those whom have to be concerned about their appearance at all times. We understand why models, actors, journalists, and politicians need to be concerned about how they appear. The appearances of the previously mentioned professionals are read, reviewed, and appraised because these professions frequently sell stories, ideas, and content that is not necessarily about them. A poor appearance might unfortunately draw attention to their personal shortcomings and possibly detract from their professional work.

    In his way I’m not sure whether anyone can escape the “beauty” concerns you bring up.

  10. Comic Relief May 8, 2013 at 5:05 AM #

    Even if I wanted to dismiss this subject, there are large parts of the world where the cultures believe they can diminish the evaluations of others by wearing burkas.

    LB, what do you think about this? Clearly many of the psychological, sociological, and political complications you have sustained in this discussion supposedly disappear when some “masking” occurs.

    Do you embrace the values of those advocates and if not why?

  11. Comic Relief May 8, 2013 at 5:17 AM #

    I am pretty sure you have an opinion about the burka, yet even if you did not many others do. Here is a recent story regarding the tradition.

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