The problem is, what does one's best look like, and how can they achieve it? Society has provided a solution to that problem: Photoshop.
It's constant in every media we consume--a computer program that has the power to digitally alter a photograph to make it look better. It's on the cover of magazines and on advertisements and on your favorite celebrities' photos. Finding an un-altered photo, especially online, could be quite difficult.
Now, there's nothing inherently wrong about wanting to touch up certain photos--maybe the lighting is a little off and it needs to be adjusted, or there may be a little blemish that you could do without, etc. But the thing is, a lot of the time Photoshop isn't just used to make tiny adjustments, it's used to manipulate the photo and make it look entirely different. Models and celebrities, usually female, have their bodies and faces practically mutilated with the use of a computer just to make them look "flawless."
This is a problem, because you see these unrealistic images and think that they're real. We believe that if we want to be appealing or attractive, we have to look like these doll-like people. So we starve ourselves, we undergo plastic surgery, we buy tons of cosmetics, all in the hope of realizing the beauty standard these altered images we consume all the time present to us. Studies have shown time and again the negative effects of this, like eating disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, suicide, dysphoria, etc. yet the media still continues to do it.
And it's not just all about body shape/size either. Even skin color is altered to fit more towards these "standards." There have been so many cases of women and men of color being whitewashed on magazine covers, and this as well, affects how we as society perceive beauty.
There's no way to escape this. Many people have spoken out about this issue, but even with their efforts, it's still a problem. The best thing to do, for us regular, not flawless people anyway, is to ignore it.
Sure we all want to look beautiful, but as the old, hackneyed, clichéd adage goes: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Though we are bombarded with unrealistic standards of beauty, we are in no way obliged to follow them. As long as we believe that we are beautiful, then we are.
click on the photos for their links