Friday, January 13, 2012

Tree Poser

I have to tell you something. I'm kind of good at Photoshop. I got that way working at a multi-media company and pestering the artist on staff to teach me a bit here and there.

I have to tell you something else. When I was doing this post about the myriad ways women are horrible to each other I had an inner struggle that kind of shocked me. I had to decide whether I should be a bitch to you. Yes, you. And myself. And all women, really. Or should I treat you with kindness and respect? Should I do the same for myself? Not to mention those two daughters I have and am always thinking of...

See, here's the thing...

At the dog park this fall I made my husband take this photo on his iphone:

I'm doing tree pose on a tree, get it? Yeah, you get it. But like I said, I'm kind of good at photoshop so of course I want to crop and lighten it:

That just goes without saying. And while I'm at it...

Why not do something trendy like add a soy-latte coloured haze? And I can make the colours warmer and burn the edges so it kind of looks like a sunny glow is emanating from me. Awesomeness. The awesomeness of me.

And while I'm at it...

Why not use the clone tool to carve off my own flesh? It'll take, like, a minute. I can make my waist and my hips and my thighs and my legs appear sooooo much thinner than they really are. That looks realistic. And you wouldn't be the wiser. Nope. You'd be all like, "Damn, Betsy, you're kind of thin-ish. Is it because you are a really good person? Is it because you do tree poses on trees and only ever eat vegans?"

But that would be a lie. Because I don't look like that carved up woman, I look like this woman:

And severing so much of my flesh from my bones just to make you think I am thinner than I am would be an act of violence to you and to me. And to women everywhere. And to my daughters. Not like they'd know, right? They don't read my blog. But then again, they would know, right? Because they love my body. And they notice if I treat it with general disdain or with kindness. And that's kind of a big deal, isn't it?

So I didn't do it. I mean, I did do it, but I couldn't go through with it. Because I want to be a good person. The kind of person who does tree poses on trees while her daughters are watching. And the kind of person who doesn't post photoshopped versions of some make-believe version of herself with thinner thighs on her blog while her daughters are sleeping.

The funny thing is that I faltered with this at all.

Not funny as in "Ha Ha," funny as in "Fuck you so much you goddamned omnipresent mass-marketing media machine, you do so much harm to so many women and girls every single second of every single day and we don't deserve it."

It's out of control. It's internalized. It's sick. It's got to stop.

I vow to be part of the solution not part of the problem. Because this person literally looks up to me every single day:

And she's beautiful. And she thinks I am too. And I am. So I should act like it. And so should you. Because I bet you are beautiful too. And odds are pretty good you don't think so.

Anyway, I just thought you should know all that.




  1. Have you seen this?

    Funny how the omnipresent mass-marketing media machine can produce images that we KNOW (intellectually) are carved, or tinkered with, or squeezed, or whatever-- yet we still internalize them. Crap.

    Also, "only ever eat vegans"? Hahaha! *Snort* I'll be giggling about that for hours...

  2. I will totally cop to using Photoshop to fix my zits. Is it wrong? Maybe. But I didn't even know about the clone tool, so my thighs stand on my own.

    That's all really beside the point, though. On point is this: you rock, Betsy. Thanks for giving all of us someone to look up to.

  3. I'm experiencing kind of a blog-post zeitgeist today on the pictures-of-women front. And yeah. Who I am is okay, and the pictures are of who I am. Also - Photoshop can fix my zits?

    I actually had trouble seeing the difference in the carved-up version of you. That's kind of funny, huh?

  4. I am sort of awesome at Photoshop too, but I've never spent any time considering making myself thinner. Does that mean I've avoided the media machine? Or does it mean I'm lazy. Likely the latter, but it'd be fantastic if I was secure in my looks.

  5. You know Betsy, you make me want to make like a tree.


Tell Betsy...