Mapping Perfection: Photoshop Project Shines a Light on Beauty Standards Worldwide

iStock_000007413558MediumHave you had a chance to see the Before and After photo project that has been making the rounds in social media? Freelance journalist Esther Honig explored worldwide beauty standards by submitting a picture of herself to Photoshop artists in 25 different countries, giving the simple instruction to make her “look beautiful.”

The results range from subtle to surprising, offering a unique commentary on cultural ideals of beauty and how digital manipulation of photos can affect beauty standards.

Healthy standards for beauty

One thing we love about Honig’s project is how it gives you a sense of the techniques used to change and perfect celebrity photographs before those magazines land on your coffee table. All of us can take comfort in knowing that even the most revered beauty icons are rough around the edges pre-Photoshop and don’t look picture perfect every day.

In the real world, people look to plastic surgeons instead of Photoshop to look their best. We have a reputation for skillful artistry that helps people make long-lasting and meaningful changes in their appearance, but, unlike Photoshop, we can’t achieve perfection. That’s why it’s so important for people considering plastic surgery to understand what is realistic and healthy for them as an individual. In fact, we believe that a healthy state of mind is the first requirement before considering plastic surgery.

We encourage you to embrace your unique qualities—and if you then choose to change your appearance, aim for natural results that fit you as a person. In any case, don’t forget to give yourself time for healthful eating and plenty of exercise. Every person can also benefit from taking great care of the beautiful skin they are in!

Diverse ways to be beautiful

Plastic surgeons are often placed in a position of authority on good looks and asked to explain what makes a beautiful body or face. Here in the DC area, I have the opportunity to serve patients coming from widely varied backgrounds. Each comes to me with a unique history that has shaped their self-image and ideas about beauty.

Like Ms. Honig’s project, the differences, as well as the commonalities, tell a story. At CPS, we believe there is no single right answer or template to follow. We begin by listening to you and answering your questions. Then we present a range of options that we feel are appropriate to help you achieve your aesthetic goals, explaining the benefits of each as we go. Our goal is to help each patient find the changes that will suit them.

In sum, Honig’s project helps us realize how our ideas about beauty are molded by our culture, upbringing, personal tastes, and media. Here at CPS, we encourage you to celebrate your own individual idea of what it is to be beautiful. Let us know if we can lend a helping hand.

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