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Advertising, the media and body image

Airbrushed to perfectionSo you think those models in that ad have just been airbrushed? Hahahahahaha. Excuse my laughter because you are way behind the times — they can do sooooo much more than that. Basically any part of a body can be digitally enhanced or computer blahhhed to get rid of anything that's not wanted — from a zit on the chin to a broken nail to a wrinkle around the mouth to a bulge on the bum that's juhhhhst a teensy-weensy bit in the way, dahhhhling.

And there we have it. Perfection on the page, the telly, the billboard,

Back in the real world

Running lateSo, what chance for you n I, hmm? Because we're the ones in the real world - the world full of normal bodies, of chunky thighs and major zits, of truly bad hair days and piggy-squinty eye days, of I-can't-be-bothered-to-shave-my-legs-days … all of which happen, of course, on the morning when you sleep through the alarm clock and have to hurtle out of bed and out of the house, within ten minutes flat, looking very au-natural. You have to sprint 100 metres to catch the bus which causes your complexion to go an incredible livid red and end up reading a magazine that is full, of course, of glowing, healthy, clean, clear-skinned, smooth, polished and UNNATURALLY ENHANCED models, who, in real life, probably have days just like the rest of us … or is it just a vicious rumour about Cameron Diaz's acne and don't you just lurrrve those shots of celebs caught in baggy trackpants looking like something the cat sicked up in the night?

Blurring the lines

Bad hair dayWhat's going down in the advertising world, then? What advertisers are trying to do is blur the lines between fantasy and reality. They want us believe that what is perceived as perfect is actually possible with just things like the correct diet or the right beauty products or the right toothpaste … but the truth is, these advertisements aren't based on reality, which means being able to achieve the promised result is highly unlikely. Yet, sadly, these images that are constantly bombarded at us through the mass media ARE being perceived as realistic and our culture has now set certain standards - and they're certainly ones that don't reflect what's normal for you and me.

So how can we get things back into perspective? Maybe a good place to start is trying to look objectively at advertisements and realising just what they're up to.

Keep reminding yourself that:

Flock of sheep

Here are a few things to watch out for:

Positive ads are:

Offensive Ads are:

Taking Action:

AND FINALLY, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, it's pretty damn simple

No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent

Updated Feb 2008