Screw Beauty Standards, Natural is Gnarly

Marc Edwin Babej

Photo by Marc Erwin Babej. Click the photo and scroll to the bottom of the article for a slideshow of the other striking images.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “When did that wrinkle appear?” Or “If only my nose was just a little smaller”? Probably, if not for those two reasons something else. I’ve said it before, we are cruel to ourselves as girls and women trying to live up to the “standards” that are laid out by the media. We’re trying achieve that Barbie look, and not realizing it’s impossible until it’s too late. And for the love of flying monkeys can someone create this real-life-beauty Barbie so our girls can get a dose of what real beauty looks like!

Trolling the Interwebz I found an article in Huffington Post, Women about the “Mask of Perfection,” a project by photographer Marc Erwin Babej. The purpose? To illustrate the difference between a women’s natural beauty and the “correctable flaws” a plastic surgeon is trained to see and thus make a living. He enlisted his plastic surgeon friend, Maria LoTiempo.

Armed with her plastic surgeon perspective and black Sharpie, Maria marked 12 model volunteers all in their twenties, TWENTIES, on the “upgrades” she would give them according to the (unnatural) standards of her profession. Interesting idea I’d say.

However, I did make me have flashbacks to movies that have girls wanting to be part of the “cool” girl group, standing on a table in their unmentionables forced to allow the cool girls to circle body imperfections. ::shutters::

Thank goodness Babej didn’t use the full body approach because I’m certain this post would have sounded quite different. Good move mister, good move.

So what are these “beauty standards” Though the article didn’t clearly map them out I think we all know what they are:
(and please let me know if I forgot any)
1. Wrinkle-free
2. Symmetry
3. Trim nose
4. Pouty lips
5. High/defined cheek bones
6. Trim jaw line

Scrolling through the images of the marked up models I was trying to hard to look for “flaws”, but honestly I didn’t see any, which is the point. These girls are beautiful and naturally so. I appreciate Babej’s project because it adds to the perspective that natural beauty is truly beautiful and for these twenty-somethings to “need” improvements to live up to the “standards” set by the plastic surgeon gods are ridiculous.

What do you think of “Mask of Perfection” and the images slap you (figuratively, of course), the viewer across the face and say “THIS EXISTS.”
What’s your opinion of the images?

One thought on “Screw Beauty Standards, Natural is Gnarly

  1. A Little Coffee

    Wow, how sad. Those girls are beautiful. I’d hate to know what the surgeons would do with me! I think that there is value in the field of plastic surgery; for example, if I ever suffered from breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy, I would be grateful to a plastic surgeon who could give me boobs again! That would make me feel like I was still a desirable woman and would be important to my self esteem.

    But my honest opinion is that we should all own our minor “imperfections”; that we have a responsibility to do so, even. It normalizes them if we don’t cover them all up with surgery and fillers. I often notice others with a similar body shape & size to my own. I see where they differ from the North American beauty standards… they have cellulite, they have a little bit of belly, maybe their legs jiggle a bit in shorts when they go for a run. But in general, I think they look good, beautiful even. Realizing that made me see that if I think they look good and beautiful even with those “flaws,” then I must also look good and beautiful even with my own flaws. But if they all start cutting and filling them away, then the impossible standards become the expected standards.

    Reply

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