How Cindy Crawford made me feel better about my body

Call me mean, but I really enjoyed seeing pictures of Cindy Crawford showing the 48 years old super model with imperfect skin, and even some cellulite!
I know, it is quite pathetic to cheer about someone else’s imperfections, however, – leaked or not – those unretouched pictures that Marie Claire made circulate on social media showing the real Cindy Crawford, made me feel better about myself, and I am pretty sure I am not the only one.
Actually, I think she should have showed her real self much sooner, so that every one of us could appreciate how gorgeous she is without any digital nip and tuck.

Once upon a time…

I grew up worshipping Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and all the famous supermodels of the 1990s. I had clippings and posters on my bedroom wall eyeing at me from the height of their stunning beauty. I did not know it at the time, but admiring those models of “perfection” from such a young age has turned to be a dangerous way of – slowly but surely – shooting at my self-confidence in the foot.
Fundamentally, I grew up thinking I was not… enough. I was not tall enough, thin enough, beautiful enough.
And then there was the “too much” part that included a list of my hips were too wide, my nose too big, my eyes too small and even too close, and so on.
I had no idea what Photoshop was, and never believed for a single second that magazines could lie about beauty. Pretty naive, uh?

In a very subtle way, glossy magazines and advertisements showing perfect models not only shaped, but created the current idea of beauty.
In the 1990s, the idea of beauty was far from reality. Curvy women were silently – or not! – considered fat. As a young woman, you could not be anything less than fit, if you wanted to be considered just normal.

I am not saying that those models on the magazines were the actual culprits of our misconception of beauty. Somehow, Cindy Crawford and all the others were means of advertising a lifestyle more than a product. The message was and still is “wear this and you will look like her”. This is how marketers slowly shaped our reality, imposing to the society what is important, and what we need to feel good and successful. And the result is that we have learnt to relieve our stress by eating and numbing our emotions instead of feeling them, and to continuously feel stressed because we feel “not good enough“.

I am too the product of a very consumeristic society.
I grew up seeing the nonsense “retail therapy” becoming first an actual expression of the language to then becoming a common practice. People actually do believe that shopping is a form of therapy and make them feel better, which is scary to say the least. But I too got into the shopping trap. I love Amazon, and I get all excited when a box is delivered to our house.
And despite being a photographer, knowing the tricks of the trade, having the possibility to transform someone’s body at my will, I also still believe that women are damn attractive with all their so-called “flaws”, and especially because of them.
Think of Laura Stone’s spaced front teeth. She was probably made fun of when adolescent, but precisely that particular characteristic made her stand out amongst other million pretty faces.

Let it go

Today things are changing because obesity has been taking over the world, so finally people are forced to face the enormous gap between the size of the models on a catwalk or on a glossy magazine and the reality of an average size 14 in the UK.
It is just plain ridiculous to think that the idea of beauty that is portrayed on today’s magazines still stands, or has ever made any sense – or any good for that matters.

Dove has been releasing brilliant ad campaigns in the last decade promoting a healthier body image, especially focused on women that are the most hit by low self-esteem.
Something is changing.
People have started slowly appreciating their real beauty and I am very hopeful that, especially women, will embrace their own, very unique, kind of gorgeousness.
#choosebeautiful

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