Guest post: Should magazines keep it real

Hello everyone, Annabella from Skin Scrubs here! The lovely Fei has let me have some space on her blog while she is away this month.
When I’m not reviewing the lastest skincare and scrubs, I have a normal day job and I’m also a board member of a women’s charity in Nottingham. We get involved in promoting women’s issues and one thing that comes up time and time again is how women are portrayed in the media. Several months ago we were looking at the work of women's activist organisation Miss Representation, who asked magazines to publish just one un-photoshopped picture during their 'Keep It Real Challenge' campaign. It shouldn't come as a surprise that there are now too many young women who think that what they see on magazine covers is real - which means they are desperately trying to conform to an ideal that doesn't exist.

I know when I was a teenager in the 80’s I was heavily influenced by magazines and that was before airbrushing/photoshop was a regular feature. I'm sure it's contributed to my constant examining of my face for flaws that aren't really there or at least couldn't be fixed with a few dabs of Clearasil. Now that I'm 42, I'm confident enough to know that everyone gets spots, wrinkles, and has bad hair days. The Daily Mail Fail make a living chasing celebs down the street so they can pap the zits on their chin! My husband and other men I've spoken to also know that their Nuts/Zoo/Maxim cover models are so manipulated that if you met them in real life you'd be shocked/disappointed.

So as women and beauty bloggers - do we expect to see perfection on our magazine covers because that is what we are striving for or because it's just the norm? Do we believe in the fantasy of a pore-less (and frankly impossible) face or do we buy X brand knowing that we won't achieve half the results that are promised in the shiny new edition of (insert your fave beauty mag here). I think beauty bloggers have a big role to play in all of this, as we are happy to put our faces on display to demonstrate if products actually work. I think this has been the appeal in the growth of beauty blogs, who let's face it are predominately written by younger women. So are beauty bloggers pushing back the tide on un-realistic images by honest reviews with photos to match? A few brands have dipped their toe in the water with un-retouched photos but none of them have made a permanent commitment to it.

So what do you think ladies - do you prefer fantasy or reality?


  1. I'm completely with you. The last time I seen a Nuts magazine shoot the girls looked like they were glowing, much like an Edward Cullen glow. Even though I'm a 23 year old woman I sometimes find myself thinking I wish my skin was that good/glowing/flawless when I know the photos have been photoshopped/edited. I don't think magazines will ever completely stop editing their photographs of models but I think they should include more features of everyday women as well. I'm unsure why more don't do this because I'm pretty sure a lot more women would buy their magazines if they knew there would be real reviews and pictures. I think you're right about bloggers, since I have started reading and blogging I think I have bought one beauty magazine. I much prefer real reviews and see changes a product has made. xx

  2. I completely agree with what your saying. I am 21 i buy magazines every week and i look at the woman and i always wish i look like them because there flawless/glowing and have overall perfection. Despite the fact i know it's not real i can't help but admire there beauty even though it's completely fake. I wish they would create a real life celeb magazine where none of them are airbrushed. I feel as though the media are making celebs be something there not and its very fake, so basically girls my age and younger are looking up to people who have had half there arm cut of by a pc program to make them look thinner. Real life is about a size 10 girl who's got lovely curves and should be able to be in a magazine and be themselves without bits being cut off because that is a real woman. Not some fake barbie doll. what happened to natural beauty.

  3. Thanks for your insight ladies, it really is sad that end up striving for a look that no one can live up to. I want to look good, but I want to look like me. A few years ago my ex did some photoshopping on one of my photos because I thought it would be a good idea - he made me realise how stupid it looks. He even did one on himself and added hair to his receding hairline which also looked just as ridiculous!


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