If you’re a woman between the ages of 35-50, Seventeen magazine was probably part of your regular reading habit from age 13-18 or so. I used to tweeze and pluck and primp and curl and straighten all in the attempt to look like the girls who modeled for Seventeen magazine. However, as hard as I tried, my eyebrows never looked like theirs, I could never make the hump in my nose go away, and no amount of makeup covered my freckles.
Now, years later, I realize that no one will ever look like the models, not even the models, as retouching photos seems to have become the rule, rather than the exception, in any type of industry. It’s a pretty sad commentary on our society that no one is happy with their looks.
What does this have to do with running an online business? Well, nothing and everything. When I first started looking at websites of other coaches in the late 1990′s, I commented to a friend that it seemed as though the most successful coaches were the ones who were young and attractive as evidenced by the photo on their site. I didn’t think I’d be wise to publish a photo of myself, as time has brought weight and age that I wasn’t particularly proud of. So, my friend and I decided that we needed to "cheat" time and publish photos of ourselves from 10 years ago (or longer) when we considered ourselves cute and attractive. Of course, the first time I got a "this is you??" reaction when someone saw my old photo, I knew that this wasn’t a strategy I could live with.
However, I notice this strategy is still a prevalent one online. I’ve met a number of people in person who are certainly much older and look much different than they’re portrayed in the photo on their website. In July, when I attended the eWomen Publishing Network Conference, I had several people tell me, "Wow, you really look like your photo." Now, instead of cringing, I wear that with a badge of honor that I am who I am, warts and all..:)
I was happy to see Dove intiate its Campaign for Real Beauty awhile back to draw attention to this problem. Now there’s a Dove video on YouTube.com demonstrating that even models no longer look "good enough" any longer (the video is also currently on the home page of the Campaign for Real Beauty site). Where will it all end?
I also love the new ABC series, Ugly Betty, in which actress America Ferrera stars as ordinary girl Betty Suarez, who’s trying to make a name for herself in the cutthroat fashion business. If young women ever needed a reminder that substance prevails over beauty, now is just the time for such a series. And, if you haven’t seen America in Real Women Have Curves, run to your nearest video store and rent it today!
In closing, here’s some fun facts about women and beauty:
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