In the Booty Paint post, the following conversation happened:

Really, though…this is why I can’t handle the fashion industry sometimes. Like, I love fashion, I’ve seen practically every ANTM episode, and I think runways and photoshoots are amazing, but can we have some real girls modeling every once in a while???? And when I say real girls, I’m not even talking about size…I’m talking about real flaws and imperfections. Real boobs. Real laugh lines. Real dimples on our butts, lol. Put the girls in the fly clothing and hairstyles, but leave in some freckles, birthmarks, and wrinkles every once in a while.

I saw a documentary on the fashion industry once called “America the Beautiful” (I think you can still watch it on Hulu), where the documentarian basically talked about how distorted our views of beauty are due to the fashion industry. A lot of the people that he interviewed said something along the lines of “I know this is a problem, and it sucks that girls have a distorted view of what they should look like, but…I’m not going to do anything to change that because I am making money off of fake perfection.” So until consumers stop buying into the ideas of these perfect bodies, we are going to continue to be constantly bomarded with them.

Honestly, though, I think it helps me to hear stuff like this, because then I never set unrealistic expectations for my body. The knowledge that a model’s perfect booty was painted on backstage makes me feel a lot better about my own imperfect (but still adorable) booty. -Gloria

I understand your point, and that call is always being made by women who want to see pictures of other women with “flaws” but when someone actually posts a picture of a woman with flaws, the other women in the crowd usually pick her apart every way possible. Someone posts a lady in a swimsuit and all you hear is, “what’s that on her forehead,” “her stomach doesn’t look right,” “her arms need a little bit more work, she needs to go back to the gym,” and it goes on and on no matter how beautiful the woman is or what the commenters look like.

Just saying, I don’t see the point to asking to see “real women” when the only thing that happens is that she gets torn down in the process. -Mac

I have to agree with Mac on this one – I don’t know if the people calling for un-airbrushed bodies are the same that nitpick a less than perfect one. I would hope not. And even though I generally avoid gossip/pop culture sites, I’ve read enough to know that Internet anonymity allows for some very cruel commentary on women’s bodies.

Then again, as I see it, it’s all a part of the same spectrum of body image criticism that I see many fat-o-phobes engage in, or the obsession if a woman is TOO thin. It’s madness, really, and I think a woman has to make a concerted effort not to be sucked in, if only for the sake of her own sanity. -Daphne

Mac, that is the realest comment ever. Women are their own worst critics. Of course I can’t lump all of these ‘women’ together- I think if you read comments on blogs etc, for every 20 nitpicky broads, you get the 1 girl who will be sensible.

Just think about when a post comes up about Beyonce or Rihanna or what not comes up. -Danielle

Mac, if that ain’t the TRUTH, I don’t know what is! Let a supermodel come down the runway without those touches, she’s be shamed into oblivion by the media and some “real women.” We (general audience/readers/etc.) *say* we want to see reality in print or onscreen, but the moment a star is seen without make-up, or who – God forbid – has a budge in their belly, or visible stretch mark … it becomes a firing squad. Oh, except for those nobly obligatory ‘no air-brush,’ ‘real women’ magazine editions and stuff.

I think it also boils down to people not wanting to see ‘themselves,’ in those limelight capacities. As Golda said, the allure is the fact that some portrayals are unrealistic, sadly. -Paula

Now, I’ve written the following, before:

See, a while back, I had a conversation with a magazine columnist and we had a long, hard talk about magazines and their habit of not showcasing enough of reality on their pages… and I cannot lie. What I was told was profound, frustrating and realistic:

If magazines sold you reality, they’d never make money. You go to magazines for fantasy – beautiful clothes, beautiful shoes, stories that are so amazing that you wish they were you, beautiful scenery and, unfortunately, bodies that are enviable. People are just more likely to buy something that’ll inspire them than they are to buy something that they can – and do – see every day.

Though I paraphrased it a bit, the nuts and bolts of what she said is still there. If the only image I’ve ever seen of the body I want to have is in the magazines and that’s what I’m aspiring toward, am I literally focusing my efforts on a fantasy? [source]

Lots of women lament the fact that the magazines don’t show “real women” – a phrase I despise – but I have to wonder… are these women seeking out and supporting the many magazines out there who do, in fact, show women who are not airbrushed into oblivion?

Let’s suppose the answer to that question is yes. Are any of those mags as famous as what we see every day? The “Marquee” magazines? If it’s merely an issue of doing what’s profitable, I’d imagine that fantasy sells.

In the same token, I’m reminded of the outrage that erupted when Maura Kelly, a then-writer for Marie Claire, wrote that watching “fatties” “do anything” “disgusted her.” Y’know, especially considering how any woman above a size 4 has been, historically, too fat to be featured in Marie Claire.

But then, why do we support something that many of us have identified as harmful? Or is it not harmful, and it’s merely the way we take these images and apply them to our individual every day lives?

What do you think? Do we tear apart “our own?”