Feminists complain that unrealistic body images in the media are harmful to women and girls. As I’ve written before (one example here), I think they have a point.

It was one thing in previous eras, when actresses, models, etc. were in the top 2% of female beauty, but at least were depicted as themselves. In the modern era, when women are often airbrushed to make them thinner, this sets up an even more unrealistic standard.

The real Jessica Alba is on the left above, the airbrushed one is on the right. Alba on the left is gorgeous–it’s hard to imagine that she would need a touch up.

I’ve wondered why there’s this push away from womanly curves and towards excessive thinness and straight/flat bodies. Men certainly like women who are in good shape, but men like womanly curves, too. My wife says that a lot of it is driven by fashion designers–it’s easier to make and fit clothes for thin/straight/flat bodies than curvy ones.

I’m not looking forward to my 10-year-old daughter spending the next God knows how many years comparing herself to these images and then feeling inferior. That’s false, of course–she already is comparing herself to those images, but I’m in denial about it, kidding myself that she’s still “a baby” and not influenced by these things.

From She may be one of the most beautiful women in the world… but that doesn’t stop Jessica Alba from getting airbrushed (Daily Mail [UK], 12/08):

Most women would be only too happy have Jessica Alba’s stunning figure.

Just five months after the birth of her first child, the 27-year-old actress showed off her body in a series of plunging beachwear and skimpy tops for a new calendar.

But those feeling envious can now breath a sigh of relief … because even Jessica’s curves were airbrushed before her latest pictures were released.

Leaked photos which have been posted on various internet blogs show an original shot of Jessica posing for Campari, in an image which was later airbrushed.

The newlywed is seen posing in a white strapless short suit with a black belt on the limited edition calendar, snapped by celebrity-photographer Mario Testino.

However in the picture which is not airbrushed, Jessica looks softer and more natural.

In the before picture, Jessica reveals a stunning hourglass figure with a few more curves around the hips and waist.

The airbrushed version of the picture seems to have narrowed her chin slightly and added more makeup to give her a pin-up girl look.

The touch-up also seems to have removed some flesh from her already slim thighs and added some definition to her bust.

However the equally gorgeous picture proves that skinnier doesn’t always mean better, as Jessica looks just as stunning before the retouch.

It also proves that the perfect images presented by celebrities are unobtainable – without the help of the airbrush at least.

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