“You know what? That makes me mad.”
While these words could very well have come from one of the little tikes in your household or mine, they actually proceeded from the mouth of a dog – a sad-eyed, floppy-eared, vertically-challenged white canine named Droopy.
The chronicles of Droopy’s adventures became one of my favorite childhood cartoon series. Physically, the adorable little Droopy appeared terribly outmatched by any character with whom he was in conflict – be it a thieving wolf, a jealous bulldog, or some other two-dimensional villain. Said villains might seem to get the best of him, but if his antagonist were to ever offend him in a particularly egregious way – like drawing a moustache on a picture of his beloved – then tiny little Droopy would deadpan, “You know what? That makes me mad.” And in the blink of an eye, he’d transform into Popeye on performance-enhancing greens! Or more biblically, Samson bringing down the Temple of Dagon! He’d grab his opponent by the scruff of the neck and proceed to thrash the living snot out of him. It was an awesome display that I, as a little boy, quite enjoyed.
I’ve been experiencing a Droopy moment. I’m mad – really mad. I’ve learned a good deal lately about how fashion magazines and advertisers not only frequently, but USUALLY doctor photographs of women before those images are unleashed on an unsuspecting public. I mean, I knew it happened on occasion. But to think that 99% of the photos of women in such media are Photoshopped? That if I see a cosmetics print ad, or a women’s magazine cover in the checkout line, or a fashion spread in a supposedly more highbrow publication like Vanity Fair, then I can basically guarantee that it’s been doctored? That at least some wrinkles have been erased, or complexion cleared up, or tummy magically tucked, or arms and legs toned, or bust and butt reshaped?
It’s shocking, then, to consider that these images, which play a gigantic role in setting the standards for ideal beauty in our society, don’t even depict reality. It is seriously screwed up that girls and women by the millions, if not billions, consciously or unconsciously get stressed out trying to look like glam shots of, for instance, Jennifers Lopez and Anniston – not realizing that even the Jennifers themselves don’t look as put together and “attractive” as their pictures.
As a father of two daughters, THAT MAKES ME MAD.
I’ve received a helpful education on these matters at FINDINGbalance‘s sister site for the True Campaign, as well as from the work of Ph.D.-pursuing twin sisters Lindsay and Lexie Kite at BeautyRedefined.net. Both sites have opened my eyes to see more clearly what’s real and what’s not.
And even as we try our best to help our daughters navigate these challenges, let us channel our righteous anger into loving yet determined appeals for change by publishers and advertisers. If we join our voices together, we – like Droopy – will show some very surprising power.