What do you feel when you look at this image? It has caused a huge amount of discussion over the last few days, almost breaking Twitter! It is a photograph of Cindy Crawford, which is reputed to have been leaked from an earlier photo shoot for Marie Claire. The shot has not been airbrushed or photo-shopped at all. It may come as quite a shock, even to adults, that most images we see in magazines have been enhanced in some way.
We’ve become conditioned to look at photographs that are perceived as ‘flawless’ or ‘perfect’. In who’s eyes I wonder. The reaction by many people, particularly women, has been one of relief! “Thank goodness, even super models have stretch marks”. “She looks more ‘normal”. I believe that this could send a great message out to everyone – particularly our daughters. Do we really want them to be measuring themselves against an idealised image of artistic perfection shown in many magazines? When I talk about body confidence in schools, pupils are pretty savvy to the fact that airbrushing happens. They love the before and after pictures and enjoy spotting the differences and exactly what has been altered. Every time I run this exercise, even with children as young as 11, they are all shocked by the degree of image manipulation that happens. They often feel cross that companies dupe us into thinking that the images are real life.
Isn’t it about time someone as influential as Cindy showed us what it is really like? If she chose to do this, I’m really pleased. If she didn’t choose and someone leaked it, I’m still pleased it’s out in the open and Cindy seems to be pretty gracious about it – I for one have been banging the drum for transparency and authenticity for years! Most importantly, she looks confident and self assured, qualities to be proud of in any woman. In a recent interview she said “I really think—at any age—it’s learning to be comfortable in your own skin. …If women would treat themselves with the same kind of love they give to their friends, that would be such a great gift we could give ourselves. …What makes you the most attractive is self-confidence. That’s what people see.”
Many women we work with have issues with their self-image and confidence. They believe the myth that the media creates and they strive for an unattainable look. The key to being self-confident is to accept yourself the way you are and to make the most of of your natural beauty – just as Cindy Crawford is doing here.
What do you think of the image? – I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA – Managing Director, First Impressions Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI) She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching. First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com