Saturday, May 20, 2017

How to Lie About Yourself in a Photo

It's rainy and soggy, and by Texas weather trends, the likelihood of thunderstorms is high until after Memorial Day. So no country visits this weekend. Instead, I have this urge to write about a pet peeve of mine. Pictures that lie.

I work in marketing. Most of the companies I manage, on our websites, are clothing companies from all over the world. Many allow their customers to "share" photos of themselves wearing the clothing they purchased at said company. It's free advertising. And I'm o.k. with that. What I'm not o.k. with is the cliche of stock poses people use to look "modelesque." For all of its many poisonous symptoms, this week's social media bug is the way people lie about themselves in photos.

Here's the rub. Most of us are perfectly perfect the way we are, but we live in a global society that says we have to be skinny with luxurious, long locks, if we're female, and ripped and prison rugged if we're male. Even though I know this is pure social pressure b.s., I find myself being way too hard on my 52-year old body. So maybe a little rant will serve as a personal pep talk for me.

Three Cliche Poses that Reveal Insecurity

As I wade through hundreds of websites and images a week, I have come up with the three most common social media poses designed to make a girl look hot without facing the insecure truth.

Head Slightly Turned

Adriana Lima looks pretty here, and she is demonstrating one of the most common poses of everyday women's face selfies. They don't look directly at the camera. They slightly turn the head. It's also good to slightly tuck the chin. Is this slimming? Or is this some little lie meant to subconsciously hide insecurities about who she really is?  I never trust a face shot like this. In my mind, somebody's lying about something. Probably to themselves more than me.

One Arm Raised Above the Head

Oh, Leryn Franco. You have a great body because you are an Olympian! Why do you feel compelled to raise that arm and make yourself look more lean than you already are? Women all over the social media world imitate this pose to look ummm.... carefree? relaxed? skinny?  I hate this pose. I imagine that the regular, perfectly fine anonymous women who do this pose must hear "The Girl from Ipanema" in their minds, suggesting a sexy Rio de Jeneiro  lifestyle. Folks, Brazil is a broken place. Brazil doesn't lie about it. They know they have some ugly, but they also know it doesn't take away their timeless beauty. Let's all think of ourselves as Brazil. We don't need to stretch an elbow to the sky to be beautiful.

The Staggering Strut

When I do this, I fall down. Another variation is that knock-kneed, casual stroll with the arm raised above the head while dragging a designer purse in the other hand look. You have no idea how often I see everyday women doing this pose. I kind of get mad at Ashley Stewart for posing their models this way. The above woman is an Ashley Stewart model. Why are they ashamed of their plus-size style? That's one gorgeous lady, without making her trip over her own feet. 

Rant Over - Try This Instead

I'm done. This little rant's been building in me for years, but it's swimsuit season. Tammy and I are taking a beach vacation in a few months, and I thought that writing about my own body image issues might help me along, and maybe it will help some of you, too. So with that, I want to leave you with a nice, honest image of a model. Full frontal, straight on pose. And she's still a stunner...

Kitty Underhill Angel, London - Photo by Darren Johnson

(I know these are models. It's not my prerogative to post private, personal photos. I posted photos from the public domain, of people who get paid to pose.)

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