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Are We Image Obsessed?

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The mirror, it seems, has become our worst enemy rather than our best
friend. Research indicates that at least 80% of women over 18 are
unhappy with what they see. The main focus of dissatisfaction is the
size and shape of their bodies, particularly their hips, waists and
thighs.

This has led me to think about this matter and air my views in this
newsletter.

It does not help that we cannot watch TV, pass billboards, or read
magazines and newspapers without seeing slender, beautiful people. So
much so, that we are subconsciously brainwashed into believing this is
the norm and that we should look like these people too.

To make matters worse, the majority of celebrities, females in
particular, almost always look perfect. Not a hair out of place, not a
wrinkle to be seen and breasts and bottoms fixed where they should be
rather than heading south, as they tend to do in the rest of us.

Does this create a negative or positive impact on us ordinary mortals?
Are we able to differentiate the star from the individual? Are we
envious?

It seems so, when you examine the statistics. According to the American
Society of Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS), 2011 Statistical Report, there
were, 307,000 breast augmentations, 182,000 nose reshapings and 182,000
liposuctions among other cosmetic procedures.

In 2010, almost 219,000 plastic surgery procedures were performed on
13-to-19-year-olds. Teens rely on the knife to correct ill-shaped
noses, protruding ears, too large or too small breasts, too big or too
flat butts, and so on. Young Asian women go as far as having plastic
surgery to westernize their appearance.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against plastic surgery. Especially
for adults who take the time to do in-depth research about their
surgeon’s history and professionalism and the consequences of their
proposed surgery.

To what extent is all this related to our actual physical defects
rather than the perception of our physical defects? We all have
imperfections. But the issue is that we believe our defects stand out
and everybody immediately notices them. Not true. The sad thing is that
we are our harshest critics.

How much is the media to blame? In my opinion, a lot. It is the media
that creates and continues to magnify and exploit the celebrity
syndrome. Thanks to the media, we have become accustomed to extremely
rigid and uniform standards of beauty.

These high standards are simply unrealistic and out of our reach. The
truth of the matter is that the current median ideal of slenderness for
women is achievable by less than 5% of the female population.

Most of us cannot afford to have a personal make-up artist, hair and
fashion stylist, yoga teacher or Pilates instructor. If we could, we
too would look fabulous every time we walked out the front door.

So what to do? Make the mirror your friend! Accept your body for what
it is, zoom in on what is good and make the most of it.
A Bientôt,

Michèle

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