Earlier today I tweeted a link to an article that Scott Kelby posted about the use of Photoshop in advertising and whether the government should regulate its use. Hmmm. Personally, I think that regulation is a bit extreme, but at the same time – at my work – many of our web sites for kids include whole sections on media literacy that talk about how advertising tricks you into sucky body image. That part really makes sense to me. So much of what we see in the world around us makes us feel like crap about ourselves.
What happens when we *do* look like crap?
I have alluded to some issues with acne over the past few months, but I don’t think you all know how bad it really is.
Because I have been totally hiding it.
Due to my diabetes, and my PCOS, and my no-good dirty-rotten luck, adult acne has taken over my face like a rippling of barnacles on the bottom of a pirate ship. [Ahoy! Tomorrow is Talk Like A Pirate Day!).
I took a photo of my face last week, when my acne was at the height of it’s eviltood. I am not going to place this photo right in here in the middle of this post, on the off chance people are skimming through their Readers while eating lunch – but if you want to see the depths I have sunk to, click here.
What the hell does one DO, you might ask? Well, that day? My dermatologist shot my face with a steroid EIGHT TIMES. A long slick needle slicing into round hard bubbles on my face, causing blood to stream down onto my clenched hands. This was after shooting my face SIX times the week before. Those fuckers are huge, and they hurt like hell, and they won’t go away once they start festering, no matter how many damn antibiotics I take.
Words can’t express the pain and humiliation as tears edge down your cheek and get in the way of the doctor trying to use your chin as a pin cushion.
The good news? Makeup has come a long way. This is an untouched photo from 5 hours after the previous photo, as I headed out to hang with the Mile High Mamas.
And my friends sure are kind. I told a few of the ladies that night I hoped to write about this issue, once I ever got the gumption together to do it. As they rushed to tell me they hadn’t noticed the bumps on my chin, did it matter if they did? Because *I* did. I tossed my hair forward to cloak my face, used my hands to shadow what I didn’t want anyone to see. The hands that continue to reinfect the same areas over and over again. I know there is a probably some grand analogy for life in there somewhere, but it really isn’t coming to me right now.
Why do we all place such importance on looks? Is it because we grow up reading Vogue and Glamour and Cosmo and looking at the perfect women with their perfect skin which in reality only come close to perfection on the pages of that glossy magazine? Is it the advertising that makes us feel bad, or is the advertising just a mirror?
Is it so wrong that I will fix a pimple here and there in my photos? Where does it cross the line? When do we, as a society, stand up and recognize that beauty is far broader than the select few and our perception of it?
I don’t have the answers to these questions.
All I know is, I am tired of hiding.