The quest for picture perfect has gone too far

We usually cringe at the sight of ourselves in our old school photos – and with good reason.

Your child, too, can look like a plastic doll/Ryn Gargulinski

Your child, too, can look like a plastic doll/Ryn Gargulinski

We are often clad in something polyester and sporting a missing front tooth or 10-foot cowlick.

We don’t have to worry any longer, as the age of perfection now has invaded all aspects of our lives.

In this society so obsessed with image, we now have handfuls of photo retouching studios. Never mind gently blending a shadow or hiding a pimple. Some specialize in total photo makeovers for school kids – or even younger.

Could you please blot the spot of peas from my baby’s face? Maybe get rid of some of that baby fat.

We can also change the kids’ hairstyles, clothing and facial expressions if their photos don’t look good enough to hang on the mantle. Maybe add some hair, glamorous eyebrows and slight dash of pink to gloss up the infant’s lips. The kids can end up looking like a plastic doll.

One service, Angel Pics, specializes in retouching photos of stillborn babies to remove all the bruises and tubes.

Photo retouching is nothing new. Celebrities have been getting slimmed down, filled out and brushed up on covers of high fashion magazines ever since the French invented high fashion.

But extending it to kids is just asking for trouble. Enough youngsters struggle with terrible self-images and low-self esteem. Touching up their photos only enhances the message that yes, child, you are no good unless you look absolutely perfect.

This lack of confidence in natural beauty, of course, will spill over into adulthood. But society also has a cure for that.

We can have our butts tucked, our faces lifted, our lips plumped and our stomach fat pumped to ensure we look as close to that faux ideal of perfect as possible. Don’t forget to inflate the chest area so we resemble flotation devices.

Heidi Montag, an actress on MTV’s The Hills, is getting her 15 minutes of fame – but not because of her acting. It’s because of her obsession with plastic surgery.

At age 23 she’s already undergone two bouts under the knife, with the latest one including 10 different operations.

At age 23. We hate to think what’s going to happen when she’s 33, or 43 or 53 – or even 25.

We’ve seen plastic surgery gone berserk, as in the infamous case of Jocelyn Wildenstein. She reportedly spent $4 million to go from a naturally good-looking woman to being dubbed “The Bride of Wildenstein.”

She caught her husband with a younger woman and the surgery began as a ploy to win him back. He left her anyway.

Please note that looking “perfect” does not mean you’re guaranteed a perfect life.

Korean woman Hang Mioku became hooked on plastic surgery at the age of 28. By the time she was 48, surgeons refused to touch her face, which had become swollen and disfigured from countless operations.

She found one doctor who agreed to silicone injections, even giving her a syringe and silicone for her own use at home. But then she ran out of silicone.

So she decided to inject her face with cooking oil.

So smile, kiddies, for the camera – you should be delighted by what could be in store.

[tnipoll]

___

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who has only retouched photos to adjust the exposure or add antlers to her rats for a Christmas card. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.

logoWhat do you think?

Is fixing flaws in photos – or in real life – a healthy practice?

Would you or have you ever considered plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons?

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About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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36 Responses to The quest for picture perfect has gone too far

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! This borders on the macabre, retouching stillborn photos? This ‘industry’ must be quite lucrative, in all it’s aspects. While reconstructive surgery can do miracles for combat injuries, accident victims or those born with deformities, some of this ‘elective’ surgery could be considered sinful in my view. I really don’t get it.
    PS- Love your ‘flotation device’ reference, that’s how the ‘Mae West’ life preserver got it’s name. 🙂

    • Rynski says:

      hiya radmax!
      i don’t get it, either – but hey, the perfection industry is evidently thriving enough to keep photo studios in business and plastic surgeons outfitted in designer watches.
      i’m not sure what to make of the stillborn photo retouching – my first reaction was bordering on macabre – then i read some of the sad stories from the parents.
      i scratch  my head. can’t say more on that one as it’s out of my realm of experience.
      thanks for filling me in on mae west life preserver origin – hahha.
       

  2. Andrew Ulanowski says:

    Morning Ryn~! I don’t know about anybody else but I want the 10ft cowlick!
    Personally, I would only use plastic surgery to repair disfigurement attained by birth, accident or incident. If people want to carve up their body and spend their money on it, I think they should be able to and why not? It’s their money and their body not mine.
    I’d pay money for the 10ft cowlick, then I’d have to borrow the Big Suit from David Byrne!
     

    • radmax says:

      Morning Alfalfa! 😉

    • Rynski says:

      hiya andrew!
      yes – a 10-foot cowlick WOULD be impressive! think i saw one on one of the hairstyles in the blade vapire movie – hahhaha.
      plastic surgery can be useful for reconstruction – but cosmetic surgery can be really gross. but i guess i’d have to agree – if people want to fall prey, let them have their fun.
      at least it gives us some gross photos to admire when it all goes wrong.
      PLEASE! send the photo of the 10-foot cowlick when you have it installed – hahahha – please also include big suit.
      oh! there was also a dude who came up with hair transplants that were actually screwed into the skull. first you had to have your skull outfitted with metal plates, of course, so you could properly insert the transplants. it insured the hair would stay in/on when you were swimming.
       

  3. leftfield says:

    Drugs, violence, the commodification of everything, multiple never-ending wars, unemployment, no health care, destruction of the planet, food that will kill you – Yeah, we got our problems, but for $19.99 you can still get a wide variety of useless, but shiny and nicely displayed, cheap plastic crapola (snap or crap? You be the judge.).  For a little more on an easy installment plan, we can undo the damage (at least on the outside) and make your butt look like J-Lo’s.  Unhappy? Vaguely disconnected from yourself and life?  Feeling alienated?  The answer to what ails you is to buy a product.  It’s the American way. 

    American capitalism – “creating a need and then filling it”.

    • Andrew Ulanowski says:

      You say that like it’s a bad thing, Lefty

      • radmax says:

        Lefty makes a good point here Andrew, the rich are entitled to spend their dough anyway they like, but it doesn’t make it right…and Lefty, I don’t know how we could all get by without our nose hair trimmer or bald spot touch-up paint. 🙂

      • Andrew Ulanowski says:

        Oh, I never said I thought it was RIGHT or even fair Radmax! Life isn’t fair but it’s still pretty good. Those are questions of morality that I would rather leave alone.
        Yay nose-hair trimmers!

      • radmax says:

        😉 …definitely a ‘must have’…

      • Rynski says:

        does anyone want to buy a nana saver?

    • leftfield says:

      It’s a general indictment of the system’s modus operandi – like the web scammers who put pornography on your computer and then offer to fix the problem they created (for a price), American capital, in the relentless and single-minded pursuit of profit, poisons your body and your mind, destroys the planet, alienates you from your work, treats human and animal life as just another disposable “unit of production” and so much more.  Then they offer you solutions to the damage they’ve done: work a little harder, buy this product, eat this food, take this medicine, follow this program, vote for me and I’ll set you free!

      This business of retouching photos of children is just a small example of the bigger problem.  I don’t know about you, but my child is beautiful just like she is. 

    • Rynski says:

      lefty,
      does that mean you’re not a fan of cosmetic surgery?
      hahhahahhahahahhaha

      • leftfield says:

        From my point of view the explosion of elective cosmetic surgery procedures is a symptom, not the underlying disease.  

      • Rynski says:

        like your theory. i also shudder to think what symptoms may come next.
        the movie ‘surrogates,’ with bruce willis, depicts a society where all the real live people lie around connected to computers while their ‘surrogates’ – which are perfect robot bodies – go out into the world.
        $10 says that’s on its way in real life….
        i want my surrogate to be a dog.

      • radmax says:

        ‘Surry’ Sawyer or Phoebe?!!!…well, maybe bark o’ holic Phoebe… 🙂
        I saw this flick too…I think Sawyer, from what I’ve heard, is a ‘paws on’ canine.

      • Rynski says:

        hahha – i would definitely go for a sawyer-y ‘surry’
        phoebe is too obnoxious – even for my tastes – hahahh
        did you like the movie? i fell asleep before the end and didn’t really seem to care.

    • azmouse says:

      wait….my butt could really look like J-Lo’s???

  4. tiponeill says:

    People are crazy, and act in crazy ways. As long as their particular insanity doesn’t hurt others, then I say go for it.

  5. azmouse says:

    I noticed this year while ordering my son’s school pictures that you can have your kids pic airbrushed to give them that perfect skin and a dreamy quality, or get the ‘touch-up’ where scars and blemishes are removed. Use to just order a packet of pics, now there are fifty boxes to go through and check off.

    Interesting story that I may have mentioned before, but I was cutting this little girls hair once, she was about seven. She had three inches of regrowth where I could see her hair had been colored darker than her own color. I asked her who colored her hair and she said her Mom did it. I asked her why her Mom colored it, and the little girl said, “I guess I wasn’t good enough the way I was.” Now how sad is that and what are we teaching our kids?

    Can my butt really look like J-Lo’s???

    • Rynski says:

      awww, that is sad about the little girl. that’s exactly the same message these retouched photos can be sending. self-esteem is fragile enough – in both children AND adults – so smashing it down can only lead to heartache.
      crazy there are 92 million photo packet options these day. geesh. wonder when they’ll add for class photos: “blur out classmates you do not like,” or “change teacher to hot woman in miniskirt”
      you and your j-lo butt!!! hahaha. i’m sure you are perfect the way you are!

      • azmouse says:

        Well thanks Ryn. I do have big butt envy and I won’t deny it.

        Most of us try to raise our children with good self esteem but now that they’re grown up I see that the rest of the world takes effect and what Mom said doesn’t matter as much. My daughter is truly beautiful yet she’ll talk about nose jobs, a chin implant, etc. Me and all my kids have a beauty mark on our cheek and I remember when she was in elementary school someone made fun of it and I caught her in the bathroom trying to scratch it off.

  6. azmouse says:

    I’ve had two friends that got breast reductions. That was a good thing for both of them.

  7. tiponeill says:

    Tip, as for ‘hurting other people’, have you seen some of the plastic surgery’s gone horribly wrong pictures?

    Ever see Sonny Bono after he got on wood sticks and slammmed into a tree ? Considering this Sunday’s festivities, ever see the brain damaged people who get in funny tights and helmets and smash into each other for fun (the ones who didn’t croak on the high school fields when they were teenagers) ? Ever see one of those terrific Indy 500 fireballs ? How about a skydiver who had an “oops” ?
    I don’t have a problem with any of them – I think they are crazy but everyone has the right to be crazy.
    I’m not in the business of picking whose craziness is OK and whose isn’t – I think the human tendency to glorify one craziness while condemning another is a form of craziness we could do without.

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