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Fashion magazines: Friend or foe?

September – this is the time of year when the thickest fashion magazines of the year are hitting the news stands and arriving in mailboxes everywhere. Most women have a love-hate relationship with fashion magazines. Flipping through the pages can get a bit depressing as the images are so impossible to attain in real life.

We all have to remember that photos in magazines represent a surreal moment in time – captured by the rapid click of a camera shutter. There are so many elements that go into making one photograph. A team of experts (more like armies!) put these photo shoots together utilizing every weapon in their arsenal. Makeup artists work their magic – applying loads of products to create the desired image. Skin is perfected. Blemishes are covered. Clothes are pinned and tucked. Body parts are taped and shaped. Lighting is manipulated. Various lenses and angles are used by the photographer for the most flattering result.

After all of that work and expertise is employed, airbrushing is still required to create the final, perfect image we all eventually see in a magazine. The photo is not reality; it is a beautiful illusion.

Fashion magazines do not depict real women. Real women come in all shapes, shades and sizes. Real women have curves. Real women have (gasp!) cellulite. Real women have pores, freckles and blemishes – some even have the audacity to wrinkle! No one measures up to a photo in a fashion magazines – not even the subjects of the photos themselves. Women shouldn’t base their self-worth or body image on what they see in magazines. Everyone has flaws and imperfections.

We all have those days when we look in the mirror and think, “Ugh!”. Or we look at our closets and declare we have nothing to wear. Those moments pass. When you are having a bad body image day, try to focus on one singular thing about yourself that makes you happy – your eyes, your lips, your hair, your neck, your shoulders, your waist, your feet, your nails, your coloring – everyone has at least one body part that makes them happy. If that fails (we all have those days too), think about how miraculous your body is. Your eyes let you see the world around you. Your ears let you hear the sounds you enjoy. Your nose allows you to smell all sorts of wonderful smells. Your tongue allows you to experience many pleasures. Your legs take you all over the place. The key is to appreciate what you have and the beauty of your own body.

Your body does so much for you. Avoid focusing on the negative or looking around for comparisons. You are a unique being – unlike any other. That makes everything about you special.