You’ve seen the articles and videos talking about the “photoshop effect.” The unattainable standard of beauty that has been created by the media, which not only endlessly bombards us with images of the most beautiful and wealthiest women – whose actual JOB it is to be flawlessly beautiful – but then photoshops those images into levels of beauty that even those most beautiful women don’t actually attain.
Well I have a plan to at least partially correct the problem.
Everyone (yes, everyone) should have to spend at least one day per year at an indoor waterpark, as I just did.
You may be saying, “Why?”
1) There is a cross-section of every body type under the sun, all in bathing suits.
You see first hand that there is not one shape of body. And that the “model” type is not a common occurrence. In fact the few folks that do have model-shaped bodies are almost alarming in the sea of normality.
Oh, some of the people you see are fabulously beautiful, but not because of their perfectly airbrushed abs. They are beautiful because they are comfortable in their own skin. Because they are having fun. Because not one of them (at least not that I could see) is paying attention to what they look like.
Some are not even the tiniest bit beautiful. But they are real and they are participating in their lives and that makes even the most awkward folks, in the most misguided choices of swimwear, kind of admirable.
And no matter what anyone there looks like, they are all undeniably human and valuable and awesome.
Unless they are cutting in front of me in line. Then I question their value. But only then.
2) The lighting is awful.
You may argue that you see a similar cross-section of the population at a beach. I would argue back that on the beach everyone looks a tiny bit more fabulous than they do under glaring florescent lights. A sheen of sunscreen, some bright sun, the glare off of the ocean – all throw a little filter on the flaws that every single one of us walks around with every day.
I can convince myself on a beach that my legs are not quite as transparent as they actually are. That I don’t look like some science experiment where you can trace the circulatory system in it’s full glory across my thighs. And if I sit just so, there might be limited jiggling. (I’m a little delusional once I put on a bathing suit.)
Under the lights – well, screw it, it is what it is.
3) Glamour is wildly out of place.
The few people who were trying to maintain fabulous looked borderline ridiculous (not judging, just thinking they might have had more fun if they had a little makeunder before proceeding to the wave pool.)
I may have looked askance at a gorgeous young girl in a strapless bikini. She looked amazing of course. But it’s just a scientific fact that if you mix a strapless bikini with a 50-foot high water slide, the result ain’t gonna be G-rated. Amiright?
4) No one can gracefully dismount a water slide tube.
I don’t care if you are a professional ballerina. Once your ass is stuck in the donut hole of a water slide tube, getting out is more a matter of leverage and will than any amount of skill or grace. I watched beautiful people try. I watched not so beautiful people try. Not a one nailed it.
I personally face planted and narrowly missed knocking myself unconscious on a wall. But that was pretty much to be expected.
So, my point is, if every impressionable young girl who is worried that she doesn’t look like a model and doesn’t have appropriately gapped thighs, and every impressionable young man who thinks his dream girl is going walk off the pages of the Victoria’s Secret catalog, had a prescribed level of exposure to a hefty dose of real on a regular basis, maybe some of that real would rub off.
And then the young girls would see that they are fabulous just the way they are. And the young boys would see that real girls are better than pictures in magazines.
And then we could put our effort into perfecting that dismount – because some of that action was still just a little too real.