Perfect Pics and Body Image

Right after taking a class on Photoshop at a Geek Girl Tech Conference this weekend I was challenged with some questions about today’s media: Are they to blame for the fact that so many girls have image issues today?

girl looking at perfect beautyI don’t think so.

I agree that technology’s ability to correct figure flaws and imperfections can cause a girl to question her own beauty, but in reality, she would do that with or without perfect images on the magazine covers.

Should the media change the way they treat their models and torment their prospective buyers? Yea, probably, but I do not expect that they will be doing so anytime soon. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised that if in the near future there are very few live models. It is far too easy to digitize the pictures they want! Perhaps this will relieve some of the stress models go through in trying to keep their figures fine and their skin clear. If the photographer doesn’t like the size of her thighs he can easily “liquefy” them or just overlap a her legs with a stock photo.

As far as the self-esteem of our female culture, it seems to me that is working itself out, too. I mean, maybe we could get them to run a campaign like they did back in the day with cigarettes by placing the Surgeon General’s warning on all edited pictures (after all, most smokers go outside to light up now). It could read:  “Ladies, do not compare yourself to this model, she is actually overweight, has a large nose and is covered in cellulite and acne, just like you.” It may enlighten some like the “before” pictures did for my tech class.  But it seems to me that the next generation is very skeptical about believing anything they see anyway–they know how Photoshop works.

My favorite question was: If models didn’t exist, would girls still have low self-esteem and poor body image?

My answer: Well, Eve did.

Personally, I think the promiscuity in the media is far more of an issue than the perfection is. But that’s another topic for an other time (see my blog on Olympian Beauty for my opinion on that matter).  


Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing our Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at

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