Flipping through a magazine, you get the impression that your body is disgusting. Your skin isn’t pore-free and fresh-out-of-the-womb smooth, your hair doesn’t shine as if kissed by a rainbow and your butt’s never big or small enough. These beauty standards suck, and they’re impossible to adhere to. No one can look like a magazine cover girl, because a magazine cover girl does not exist.
That sounds philosophical, but it’s true. “Standards,” as we’ll call them, are sold to you, because that’s how magazines make money. The business objective is that you will see impossibly blemish-free skin and want the tools inside to give you that glow. But in addition to a skincare regimen that likely costs a lot of money, models and celebrities also get the Photoshop treatment, and airbrushing isn’t really a thing of the past, either. You know this, we know this, but it’s always worth a reminder.
So, you can understand why we love Kelsey Higley’s art project, where she took 126 photos of herself and digitally manipulated them to highlight all of the unrealistic beauty standards that exist or have existed. She tells ABC, “Being a young woman, I have had many battles with this idea of beauty. I’ll go through stages where all I want in life is to be super fit with rock hard abs and big boobs, then after a while I’ll flip to the other side and tell myself that I should love and embrace the body I have…the reason why some of my modifications are so extreme is to comment on how unrealistic some of society’s beauty standards are.”
After watching the video above, we think you’ll agree with Higley. Why have we ever wanted to work so hard for an industry that seems so fickle?