On Consumerism


New to this series?  Please check out The Naked Face Project website and my introduction to TNFP to get a complete understanding of the intention behind the Project.


I was recently thinking about how The Naked Face Project relates to consumerism.  I believe that the primary goal of advertisements is to make you feel like you’re lacking … because then you’ll feel compelled to buy the product.  Your car isn’t cool enough, your hair isn’t shiny enough, your food isn’t gourmet enough.  Solution:  Buy a new car, a new shampoo, a new brand of cereal.  But especially when it comes to beauty products, marketers want you to feel badly about yourself. They don’t want you to be happy with yourself the way you are – because then you wouldn’t have a need to buy their product! 


Check out this CoverGirl commercial – it starts at the 10 second mark:

“Natural” look

The part that Sophia says, “I want to look natural, not naked” really caught my attention.  Basically, the commercial is saying that the truly natural version of a woman (not Sophia’s version of natural, which looks like she’s wearing a pound of makeup) isn’t acceptable.  You DON’T want to look natural.  According to CoverGirl, just being yourself is a bad thing.  Well, of course it is – they want you to spend money on their makeup!


Advertisements try to make us feel that we’re lacking in a variety of ways.  Beyond the sales pitch language, a very common technique is the liberal use of Photoshop.  This is especially prevalent in beauty product advertisements because Photoshop creates an ideal that is so perfect that it’s totally unattainable. And if the ideal is unattainable, the consumer is always lacking.  Perpetual consumers, yippeee!


This is one of my favorite Photoshop examples:

Clive Owen photoshop

Photoshop Clive Owen is on the left.  Real Clive Owen is on the right.  What’s the big difference between the two Clives?  No wrinkles – and a man his age has wrinkles.  And what’s the ad for?  Yup.  Anti-aging cream.  Talk about creating a completely unattainable ideal.


The statistics don’t lie – our nation has a serious confidence crisis.  90% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance in some way.  Over 3/4 of a typical women’s magazine includes at least one message about how to change your appearance through diet, exercise, or cosmetic surgery.  88% of young girls say they feel the need to “look perfect.”  Four out of ten Americans either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder (there are complex causes for EDs, but societal pressure is certainly one of them).  Over 1/2 of teenage girls and nearly 1/3 of teenage boys use unhealthy behaviors to control their weight (including skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives).


If you’ve read my first book, you know that I also suffered from a major confidence crisis as a teen. I went through a horrible stage of depression and self-harming.  I always thought I was a total oddball for engaging in this behavior and was so nervous to write about it in my book, but I can’t tell you how many people have emailed me or come up to me after Operation Beautiful presentations to say they went through something similar (1 out of 200 teen girls self-harm).  I engaged in this behavior because I didn’t feel good enough and had no way healthy way to process my emotions.


Do I think beauty products are inherently evil? Not at all!  Do I think issues in advertising are the cause of our self-esteem problems? Certainly not.  The causes of these issues, both on a larger societal scale and on a personal level, are very, very complex.   But I really think it boils down to this: so many of us, in so many different ways, are struggling to figure out who we and whether we are intrinsically good enough. And it’s often very hard to imagine that we are actually good enough when so many people – both in our real lives and via the pages of a magazine – tell us that we aren’t acceptable… that’s we’re lacking. 


It’s been really exciting for Molly Barker and me to see the Project grow, evolve, and touch other people – it was featured on ABC News and The Daily Mail.   During one of the interviews, I was asked if I still “like myself the same” now that I’m Naked Faced. When I started this Project, I wasn’t sure if I would like myself as much during the Project.  I’m not going to lie.  The beginning of the Project was rough.  I’ve been so socially conditioned by my upbringing, my community, and the media to think that a nude face and prickly legs is the opposite of attractive.  And even beyond the attractiveness factor, I’ve been ‘trained’ to think that primping and shaving signals that you’re neat and clean.  So at first, when I would look at my nude face, I felt like something was off, like I was doing something wrong (or just not doing what I was supposed to do). 


But once I got over the hump – the initial shock of doing it differently for the first time in my life – I really began to understand that I am the same person either way.  Regardless of whether I buy into the consumerist hype and use all these beauty products for one reason or another, I am the same Caitlin.  I liked myself before the Project began, so – yes.  I do really like myself the same, hairy pits and all.  And truthfully, I am surprised that not only do I still like myself this way, but I feel sexy.  I guess this goes back to one simple truth – real confidence comes from within.  Our consumerist culture wants to convince us that we need to buy, buy, buy things to achieve confidence, but that behavior is just a Band-Aid on a bigger problem.  I became healthier mentally not by using a better shampoo or driving a nicer car… but by getting my ass to therapy, drawing boundaries in toxic relationships, and giving myself a break.


As I near the end of The Naked Face Project, I find myself coming to many – sometimes contradictory – conclusions about beauty products, self-confidence, and womanhood.  One of these conclusions is that I do actually find many beauty products, like makeup, to be FUN!  It is fun to smear on a crazy color of eye shadow, pull on a slinky dress, and pretend to be dark and mysterious on my date night.  This type of consumerism adds something to my life.  But it’s so sad to me that so much of the consumerist messaging is inherently negative and harmful to our sense of self. 


At the end of the day, I guess it’s up to us, as the consumer, to look past the hype and glitz.  It’s up to us decide what society is really trying to sell us… And whether we want to buy into that at all.



  • Colleen March 22, 2012, 11:12 am

    Great post! I haven’t comment too much on these posts because I haven’t figured it all for me yet. In my 36 years I have been the yo-yo. I have gone years not wearing makeup or other beauty products to wearing the works or only foundation and powder – plus sunscreen. I was actually complimented on my skin two weeks ago by a salon/spa person – I had on only powder. It felt good to know I didn’t need all the extra stuff to look good – which my hubby already knew (he perfers the natural/no makeup look). Some times all it takes is for someone, other than your sponse or friend, to tell you you are beautiful without makeup.

  • Sunny March 22, 2012, 11:15 am

    I’m glad that you’ve come to the conclusion that makeup can be fun when you don’t use it everyday. In one of your early posts you said something like you didn’t think it could be fun and I’m glad you’ve now seen both sides of the situation. 🙂

  • erin March 22, 2012, 11:16 am

    i just did a picture of myself before I put make up on and after i put make up on up on instagram. and really the difference between the 2 pictures is slight, not too drastic.

    now i just happened upon this link – http://wonderwall.msn.com/movies/cate-blanchett-goes-un-photoshopped-for-mag-cover-1672795.story

    where cate blanchett isn’t photoshopped at all, and guess what she’s gorgeous with wrinkles and all.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 22, 2012, 11:16 am

    Awesome post Caitlin! I cringed at that part of the commercial (‘natural, not naked’) and it kind of irks me that in magazines, the way to get the ‘natural’ or ‘barely there’ look that’s supposed to be so in style is to load a bunch of makeup on your face. It’s more than I often put on if I’m actually TRYING to wear more makeup! Now that I think about it, I haven’t bought a single beauty product except for hairspray since you started this project!

  • Kristine March 22, 2012, 11:27 am

    You should check out Can’t Buy My Love by Jean Kilbourne: http://www.amazon.com/Cant-Buy-My-Love-Advertising/dp/0684866005. I read it in one of my Gender Studies classes in college and it was life-changing. In fact I should probably read it again to remind myself of its messages – I’m turning 32 soon and I’ve started paying closer attention to wrinkle cream commercials. Ugh!

    Also, I heard that you’re speaking at Davidson College today! That is my alma mater … class of ’03. 🙂

    • Carina March 22, 2012, 1:08 pm

      I’d echo that book recommendation. Sometimes a bit dry, but still a fascinating read.

      • Caitlin March 22, 2012, 5:06 pm

        I saw her speak live and she was AMAZINGGGGGGGGGGGG!

  • Laura March 22, 2012, 11:28 am

    Have you heard of the video series “Killing Us Softly”? Jean Kilbourne’s work is all about the image of women in advertising. (http://jeankilbourne.com/) It’s really fascinating stuff. Also, this movie “Miss Representation” is really powerful. (http://www.missrepresentation.org/) Check it out if you have time, and thanks for another awesome post!

  • Ari @ Ari's Menu March 22, 2012, 11:31 am

    Caitlin, I have absolutely loved reading about your journey with this project! Everything you have written about it has been so insightful, and I especially loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing the experience. I feel like you are probably helping more people than you realize!

  • Lata March 22, 2012, 11:32 am

    I have been reading your blog for a while and I love it that you tried this naked face project. I think most women look better without a lot of makeup. I have actually never liked makeup and dont use it even now. I like the natural look and wearing makeup actually makes me feel awkward 🙂

    • Caitlin March 22, 2012, 5:06 pm

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Samantha Angela March 22, 2012, 11:36 am

    I think magazine advertisers think they aren’t successful unless they make you feel bad about yourself. I try not to read magazines anymore so I can avoid feeling like I’m inadequate (and consequently need to spend money on some product that will somehow make me better)

    I just wrote a post about body image, particularly the constrast between white women and black women.

    Interestingly enough…

    “[Black women] report having appreciably higher levels of self-esteem. Although 41 percent of average-sized or thin white women report having high self-esteem, that figure was 66 percent among black women considered by government standards to be overweight or obese.”

    Sometimes the idea of beauty is cultural.

    You can read more here if you’re interested:


  • Sara March 22, 2012, 11:45 am

    Good thoughts 🙂 I can’t stand ads for makeup and creams because I know they are super fake. I think Clive looks awful in the ad. They took away his features!

    • Sara March 22, 2012, 11:46 am

      But I love Sofia Vergara (not in the ad) but because she’s not a stick figure. I love that women don’t have to be a size 2 or 4 to be on tv and in ads and to be popular. Amen!

      • Caitlin March 22, 2012, 5:06 pm

        I love Sofia in the Pepsi commercials.

  • Helene @healthyfrenchie March 22, 2012, 11:54 am

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts as you went along with operation beautiful.
    I enjoy reading blog like yours, because it makes me realize that I am not hte only one struggling with these issue and the pressure society puts on us.
    Thank you

  • amanda March 22, 2012, 12:22 pm

    i think the more salient point is that societal judgment accompanies any choice women make about make-up. the same can be said about wardrobe choice. women do not have the ability to wear the “standard business suit;” rather, we must make a choice that will reflect upon us no matter what. if i wear make-up, it means that i care about my appearance, or perhaps that i am vain. if i don’t, then i don’t look put-together, or i’m “making a statement” (much like your project is). if i wear a dress, then i am “feminine;” if i wear a suit, then i am trying to appear “powerful.” this is the issue, and if you are a woman in a male-dominated field, it won’t be solved by simply taking off your make-up for awhile. it’s very complicated and requires some serious debate.

    • Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon March 22, 2012, 12:39 pm

      I had a conversation with my mom recently about the inevitable judgement we receive based on our clothing choices, only in the context of the party/bar scene. It’s so unfortunate that we as women can be judged by both guys and girls as being easy, slutty, etc. AND be targeted based on those judgements! Why should our choice of clothing contribute to our safety!

  • Army Amy* March 22, 2012, 12:26 pm

    On a recent episode of Real Housewives of O.C., one of the women was putting on make-up and asked her young son, “Does Mommy look natural?” Here she is with purple eyeshadow, and eye liner, and flase eye lashes trying to look natural? Her son’s response: “no.” I couldn’t help but laugh!*

  • Kristina March 22, 2012, 12:37 pm

    I know that someone else mentioned it already but Clive Owen looks really bizarre with the makeup on.
    I live in Southern CA which has its fair share of fake beauty. I have to admit that I’m still not used to seeing women that are crazily made-up and/or that have tons of plastic surgery.
    I’m happy that I find my sense of self-worth from other sources.

  • Ashley @ The North Carolina Cowgirl March 22, 2012, 12:41 pm

    Holy Crap! That is some serious photoshopping lol.
    I might be the one in a few, but I don’t feel like I need makeup to look good. Most days I don’t wear any makeup. When I go out I do paint my face up but I don’t go overboard with it. I still like to look natural. 🙂

  • Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon March 22, 2012, 12:45 pm

    I’m taking a communications class (first one for me since I’m a bio major!) this semester and we’ve been talking about how the media, both in advertisements and other forms, can impact our health, specifically in the context of food. On Tuesday we discussed how ads create an unrealistic “consumer fantasy”–an idea that by buying the advertised product, you will be happier, healthier, or, in the case of beauty products, more beautiful and desirable. So, basically exactly what you said!

    When you think about it, the concept that purchasing one product can change your life is utterly ridiculous! Yet, that idea has become so ingrained in us by the inescapable ads that repeatedly bombard us.

  • Silvia @ skinny jeans food March 22, 2012, 12:47 pm

    The Clive Owen picture really rang a bell with me — if they photoshop wrinkles off men they are definitely photoshopped off women.

    What is really important (and why I like operation beautiful) is to have role models — prominent figures, whether prominent in our real lives or in the media, that represent a proud (and thus attractive!) way of being or aging differently, of being more naturelle, so to speak.

    There are very few. The only women I can think of is someone like Helen Mirren, lots of wrinkles but beautiful.

    When I cave in to watch Housewives of Orange County or BH all I want to do is cringe: architected women, unnatural lips, hardly moving faces. In the end, you just see the work, acknowledge, ok, no wrinkles, but something is off about them (and off is not attractive).

    If there would only be more Helen Mirrens… Proud and prominent in the media and in real life, I think it would make really a difference.

  • Carina March 22, 2012, 1:05 pm

    What has always struck me when people rail about photoshop and the media setting unrealistic expectations, and about the crisis in self confidence is that, while as you say, 90% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance in some way, we also know that more than half of this country is overweight, and a sizeable portion is categorized as obese. I agree that people shouldn’t feel ashamed or lack confidence at any weight, but at the same time, I wonder if too much self-acceptance will lead to more obesity and higher health care bills for everyone one day.

    • jackie March 22, 2012, 4:48 pm

      “I wonder if too much self-acceptance will lead to more obesity and higher health care bills for everyone one day.”

      Have you thought that perhaps the influx of unrealistic beauty standards set by the media and the rise in obesity are positively correlated for a reason? I’m not saying that one definitely causes the other, but it’s certainly possible that as we as a society become more and more obsessed with being rail thin and wrinkle free, the self esteem of our youth deteriorates, or never has a chance to develop to begin with. Poor self esteem is one of the main causes of binge eating. And thus a vicious cycle ensues….

      And, hypothetically, let’s say what you propose could create a skinnier “healthier” society. Do you really think it is mentally healthy to have less “self acceptance” so that we can be thinner? I see your point to an extent, but I don’t think feeling just a little worse about ourselves is the answer to the obesity epidemic.

      • Caitlin March 22, 2012, 5:07 pm

        I think these issues are very complex and are both related and not related (ha, if that makes sense). I do think one thing is obvious… pressure to me perfect makes no one healthy, mentally or physically.

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery March 22, 2012, 1:07 pm

    I really love this post, Caitlin, and I’m sorry to hear that you also went through depression and self-harm. I’d read about your depression before but didn’t know about the SI. It’s such a taboo topic and people don’t talk about the prevalence of it.

    That commercial really upsets me because it does indeed send the message that we are inherently flawed. For a few summers, I worked as a makeup artist at a spa doing makeup applications to complete spa days or to just give someone a new look. My aim was to give the client what they wanted and what they wanted greatly differed. Some just wanted to highlight a feature, others said they wanted a fresh look but in the end just wanted reassurance that their current look was “good enough”. My goal (unless I was specifically asked) was to not make the woman made up, but just to help her feel confident about her looks by enhancing what she had. True confidence doesn’t come from foundation or mascara, it comes from the belief that you are beautiful and strong no matter what you are wearing or not.

    I guess my point is just that it’s important that consumers identify their objectives and if they are truly trying to cover something up with makeup, it’s more often indicative an emotional wound and insecurity than something physical such as a blemish. It’s the internal blemishes that we worry about so it’s easier to make the outside look flawless so that others will think we are flawless on the inside. That’s my take on it and I’m guilty of it.

    To make this long comment even longer (my apologies), I noticed that when I was very depressed and needed to be hospitalized, putting makeup on was a good thing for me. It meant I was taking care of myself at least a little bit and it brought me some pride, so I would have to say that there’s nothing wrong with buying products and “putting on your face,” but there has to be something more than that inside if you really want to find peace, be happy, etc.

    One last thing: while working in the spa I tried to promote good skin care routines over make up. I believe it’s important to take care of your skin with good products (it is an organ after all) and when you take the time to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize, (and wear sunscreen!), your skin needs less makeup and looks so much more beautiful.

    Ok, the end.

    • Caitlin March 22, 2012, 5:08 pm


  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 22, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Awesome post! It is soooo true that advertising is constantly trying to convince us we’re not good enough –or don’t have enough. Once we find our inner confidence and know WHO we are, we don’t have to stand for that. I don’t feel much pressure anymore from advertising–plus, I hardly watch TV. I think it’s a choice to not be bombarded with it all and our reaction to it.

    I too like makeup for fun reasons. I never feel like I ‘have’ to wear it!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 22, 2012, 1:24 pm

    I definitely think advertisements for beauty products feed into a lack of self-confidence. If I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my face then I wouldn’t be buying concealer, would I? But I guess that’s the whole purpose of advertisements – to make people feel insufficient without their product!

  • k March 22, 2012, 1:27 pm

    i’ve been following this experiment with interest! i know a lot of women just wear makeup as a default. i’m in the other camp . . . i only wear makeup on special occasions. just how going naked-faced makes some women feel uncomfortable, wearing makeup actually makes me feel very self-conscious and anxious. it’s almost like i feel i’m a different person when i wear it and it kind of freaks me out a little. i don’t know, i guess i feel like i’m more under the radar when i don’t wear it.

  • jessica March 22, 2012, 1:29 pm

    a few of your comments about how the media sets us up to believe we’re never enough reminded me of this lecture by brene brown. she’s incredible and really hits a lot of the same ideas you have here. hope you enjoy! i loved this post – it hit home for me and really got at my frustration with the media much of the time. but you’re right – it’s up to us to digest those messages, spit them out, or reinterpret them. thanks for your words! 🙂


    • Caitlin March 22, 2012, 5:08 pm

      Oh thanks for passing this along!

  • Sneakers2Sandals March 22, 2012, 1:34 pm

    Is it bad that I think Clive looks so much better in the unphotoshoped picture!? He looks like a robot in the other one. Let’s see some pics of your hairy armpits! 🙂 That’s the part I couldn’t deal w. No makeup, no doing my hair = everyday life for me, but I could not deal w/ no deodorant and no shaving.

  • Rebecca March 22, 2012, 1:49 pm

    I saw that commercial a while back and hated it for the “natural” comment.
    I was dragged into putting on makeup this weekend–I was at a friend’s house and her mom was having a Mary Kay party and the three of us college girls (two of whom rarely/never wear makeup) got pulled in. I had no idea what I was doing, but they assured me that for never having put makeup on myself before I did just fine. But I hated it. I felt so weird. I didn’t look much different–the only way you’d have known I was wearing any makeup was if you’d noticed the eye shadow–but I knew it was there and I wanted it off. I left it on until around bedtime that night, but I was even more determined to not wear it again when I saw what happened to the makeup removing cloth I used. Gross. I can’t imagine doing that every day, or even just every once in a while. No occasion is special enough for me to do that to my face.
    One of the women mentioned that she wanted to look like the woman on the brochure, and I had to bite my tongue to keep from complaining that it was probably Photoshopped. It might not have been a shopped pic, but my guess is that it was. Just in case it wasn’t, though, I shut up. I didn’t want to offend the saleslady.
    At the end of the “party,” the woman selling the makeup said something like, “So is it really that terrible to be girly (wear makeup) sometimes?” Yes, actually. It is. Not worth it, IMO. I’ve spent pretty much my entire life trying to remind myself that I am beautiful the way I am; I don’t need to start shaking that confidence by comparing my natural face to my made up one.

  • Lydia March 22, 2012, 2:36 pm

    This was wonderful, thank you. You definitely have a gift with words, because this is a radical message and you make it so accessible!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie March 22, 2012, 2:36 pm

    I freaking HATE photoshop! I mean, look how much better Clive Owen looks in his normal photo….he looks like a weird doll in the ad.

    I think photoshopping away wrinkles is the silliest thing ever, it just doesn’t look right.

    I agree with you on the consumerism view. I hate that we’re constantly pressured to buy things so we’ll be happy, or look good but we can be happy and look good without shelling out so much money.

  • Claire Zulkey March 22, 2012, 2:37 pm

    I thought of you this morning–my husband forgot to take my makeup box out of the car (I put on my face on the way to work yesterday) and I was faced with the prospects of going either fully naked or making do with the scraps I had in my bathroom. I was not as confident as you are, was the end result. But I contemplated it!

  • Amber K March 22, 2012, 2:53 pm

    I hate advertisements that are so overly-Photoshopped. A lot of times I will hold up a magazine to my husband and ask him who the celebrity is in the picture. He’ll have NO idea. I’ll tell him and he has to look again to even begin to try to pick out their features.

    If you know what celebrities look like, it shouldn’t take a magnifying glass and a discerning eye to figure out who it is. They should look like real people! Not aliens.

  • Ashley March 22, 2012, 3:06 pm
  • Meredith March 22, 2012, 4:40 pm

    I can’t stand commercials for cosmetics for another reason – they are so dumbed-down it’s insulting! I heard one the other day promising “all natural extracts.” Extracts from what!? I think they pick random words they think sound pretty or science-y.

    As far as the reason to wear makeup, I really think of it as decoration. Like shutters on a house. Or wallpaper. Or area rugs. Not necessary, but pretty and a bit luxurious. I guess the big differences is because you don’t spend much time looking at your own face, it’s more for others than for yourself.

  • Marcella March 22, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Are those pictures of Clive Owen taken on the same day? If not, it’s a little disingenuous to pass them off as the same picture while doing a comparison of photoshopped vs. not. I think the Lancome ad is from 2007. If the other photo is from 2011, that’s 4 YEARS. People can age quite a bit in 4 years.

    I’m not saying he’s not photoshopped, but I can’t believe people would look at that ad and think he’s not.

    • Lisa March 22, 2012, 4:56 pm

      Every single image of men and women in the media have been digitially altered (photoshopped). It’s the standard now.

    • Caitlin March 22, 2012, 5:09 pm

      I don’t know when the unphotoshopped version of him is from exactly, but it’s older than 2011.

  • Lauren @ therawcure March 22, 2012, 5:10 pm

    I really appreciated this post. Concise insight to some things I have been pondering lately as well. Thanks!

  • Carol @CookingForTwo March 22, 2012, 5:35 pm

    WELL. WELL. Said.

    I completely agree that real work on yourself comes from the inside, not the outside. What you said about therapy, boundaries, and giving yourself a break are so true to what cause real beauty (and positive growth!) in a person.

    Thanks for this great post.

  • Catherine March 22, 2012, 5:55 pm

    This post came at the right time for me! Like you, I am about 28 weeks pregnant (due June 15). I love my growing belly, embrace the extra 15 lbs I’m carrying, and absolutely LOVE being pregnant. But today something happened that completely knocked my confidence down.

    I had the day off, so I was squeezing my enlarged goods into a bikini to lay by the pool when I saw it… cellulite. I know it’s common and I feel vain for saying this, but I was sort of devastated. Instead of going to the pool, I googled cellulite remedies. I was directed to about a million websites selling creams, and they all used adjectives like “unsightly” and “unattractive” when referring to the cellulite.

    It was almost so ridiculous that it snapped me out of my self-loathing frenzy, and I realized that I have NEVER been disgusted or even thought twice about someone else’s cellulite. So it’s not fair to beat myself up about something so trivial. But a lot of people, especially young girls are going to be more deeply affected by these advertisements. It’s sad that companies are intentionally attacking people’s self-esteem to make a profit. Anyway, great post! Love reading your updates on the Naked Face Project.

  • Rachel March 22, 2012, 6:58 pm

    I think this may be the best thing you have ever written:”so many of us, in so many different ways, are struggling to figure out who we and whether we are intrinsically good enough.” I have never heard a truer statement; it rang true to me and I didn’t even realize that’s how I felt until I read it. I struggled with an eating disorder when I was younger, and one of the things I realized that was enabling my disorder was the women’s magazine and women’s talk shows. Any TV segment or magazine article on losing weight (always with the underlying message that you are happier when you are thinner) make me think that ‘normal’ was being on a diet and being unhappy with yourself. In order to get over my disorder I had to get away from that message and those mediums. I knew that my disorder was out of a need for control and this desire to be ‘perfect’, but your above sentence completely sums up my feelings. I’ve worked very hard over the years to realize that by being myself I am good/perfect, and I think I am finally at a place where I am the happiest I’ve ever been with myself.

    I think there is more to girl’s low self-esteem, body image disorders, and eating disorders than advertisements and photoshopping, but I think when a girl is struggling it only adds to their problems.

    By the way, I think Clive looks much more handsome in the un-photoshopped picture than the advertisement.

  • Bronwyn March 22, 2012, 8:26 pm

    Your final paragraph struck a cord with me, especially when you mentioned the part about realizing that real confidence comes from within.

    I had (and still am) having a recent experience with this, but not in terms of make up, but rather my weight. I recently regained a lot of weight that I had lost, and never thought I’d see. I’ve been this weight before (or near it) and I was in a horrible place. I hated myself, how I looked, everything…. and always assumed landing back here I’d be the same. Instead I have the same confidence I had before. It has been an odd experience to realize that I could have confidence at any size, sometimes it just takes a while.

  • healthy ashley March 22, 2012, 8:30 pm

    Looooove this recap. And Clive is hotter on the right!

  • Cindy March 22, 2012, 10:15 pm

    Change yourself for your health and well-being, not to conform to ridiculous – but admittedly pervasive – societal ideals.

    When I read this, I thought my 12 year-old daughter (as I always do with this subject matter). It’s my job to make sure she knows how inherently beautiful she is and that it all starts on the inside.

    Thanks so much for this series. So well-done. I hope it makes many women happier about who they are right now. And Clive looks WEIRD photoshopped – like he’s a cyborg or something!

  • Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee March 23, 2012, 8:15 am

    Just thought I’d let you know they talked about the Naked Face Project on the radio here in Ottawa this morning :)!

  • Carol @CookingForTwo March 23, 2012, 4:40 pm

    My husband and I are wrapping up our P&S this week for our first home purchase. I’m feeling super stressed right now! Seeing you guys happy with your early move definitely makes me keep my eye on the prize!

    Congrats again!

  • Emily March 23, 2012, 8:00 pm

    Love the photoshop example.

    Photoshopped Clive Owen is a bit scary. But he is rather attractive as his actual self.

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