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beauty standards

When it comes to representation of body types, shapes, sizes, skin tones, differences in ability and gender and sexuality diversity, anyone who doesn't fall into a stringent subtype of Western beauty standards can go years without seeing anyone who looks like them in the media. 

Luckily, we're are wising up, and championing diversity more and more as a society, however Dove have revealed that 70% of women say they still don’t feel represented in the images they see every day.

Brands, publications and agencies have a responsibility to showcase people of all appearances – and clearly, it's what people want to see. How often have you felt dissatisfied with your body after seeing a post on social media, or read a makeup article only to find your skin shade is a mere afterthought? This stops now: 

When you read an article, just like this one, and scroll through the images scattered throughout it, those pictures often come from a photo agency, like Getty. Dove have teamed up with Getty to create over 5,000 images of people of all types that publications and brands can use in their content – so theres no excuse for a lack of diversity anymore. 

The project, called #ShowUs, showcases women without retouching – so that people can finally see somone they relate to in pages opf glossy magazines or in the main image of an online article. 

Project #ShowUs is the world’s largest stock photo library created by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes and is available now for the media and advertising industries to view, license and use in their next project or campaign – all shot by Girlgaze, a group that represents a diverse, global community of women, female-identifying and non-binary people. 

The cause seeks to end the stereotypical view of what a woman looks like, and showcase many different types of individuals. 

The project is unapologetically real, and marks the beginning of a more diverse range of representation in media. 

The public have long rallied for this, and finally, Dove is brining it to the table. In one of the largest global studies of its kind, Dove research study shows that 67% of women are calling for brands to step up and start taking responsibility for the stock imagery they use.

On Getty Images, the search term “real people” has increased +192% over the past year, “diverse women” by +168%, and “strong women” by +187% providing more evidence of the demand for a more realistic portrayal of women and beauty.

There is also huge need for stock imagery to include women in more progressive and empowering roles and scenarios with “women leaders” up by +202%.

It looks like we now have the opportunity to appreciate beauty in all of it's forms. 


Jennifer Aniston has opened up about the strained nature of her dysfunctional relationship with her late mother, Nancy Dow.

The actress describes the correlation between their maternal bond and her complex new Netflix film Dumplin', in which she plays a pushy mother and former pageant queen.

In the new movie, her daughter is plus-size and enters herself in a competition purely to make a dramatic statement regarding unrealistic beauty standards in our society.


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The 49-year-old actress spoke candidly to The Sunday Telegraph about the many parallels between how Dow treated her during her childhood and Dumplin's expression of mother-daughter relationships.

When asked whether the two were similar experiences, Aniston replied “Where do we start?”

“One of the reasons I really loved the mother-daughter aspect of it was because it was very similar in a way to what my mother, and our relationship, was,” Aniston told the publication.

Nancy Dow, based on Aniston's description of her, was clearly preoccupied with her daughter's appearance.

“She was a model and she was all about presentation and what she looked like and what I looked like,” The former Friends actress commented. The star endured a highly-publicised fall-out with former actress Dow.

“I did not come out the model child she’d hoped for and it was something that really resonated with me, this little girl just wanting to be seen and wanting to be loved by a mum who was too occupied with things that didn’t quite matter.”


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The actress added that she really resonated with the film's message, which encourages the audience to embrace their flaws and imperfections.

"This movie is so special because it is about stripping away those preconceived notions of beauty, trying to become individuals and not feeling that we have to live up to some unrealistic ideal that society is feeding up to us," she explained.

"My idea of beauty is, it's what makes you feel beautiful and what makes me feel beautiful are the people around me, the life that I have. And maybe a good hair day."


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Aniston previously told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 about Dow, saying; "She was very critical of me." 

Nancy wrote a biographical book in 1999 about their strained relationship: From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir, which Aniston saw as a breach of privacy.

"Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn't. I never was. I honestly still don't think of myself in that sort of light, which is fine." 

We think she's absolutely beautiful, inside and out. Dow passed away in 2016 at the age of 79, after a long illness.


Now, more than ever before, the discussion around body positivity and self-love is a part of our everyday lives.

It seems like everyday another influencer is coming clean about those seemingly perfect, but ever so staged Instagram pics, and we're constantly bombarded with campaigns telling us to 'love the skin you're in' and all that jazz.

So, why is it that the pressure to look a certain way still remains?

Well, even though the body positivity movement continues to grow, so too does the world of cosmetic surgery and enhancement – and an absolutely ridiculous procedure has just come to our attention.

You know that little bit of flesh between your bra strap and armpit? The one that literally every human being has? 

Well, a number of clinics are now offering a procedure to remove this 'unsightly' feature of your upper arm and have even gone as far as hailing it a 'revolutionary' treatment.

“As women, we are constantly striving to look better,” Dr Galyna Selezneva based at the Dr Rita Rakus clinic in Knightsbridge, London told The Sun.

“To lose weight and get rid of that awkward little pocket of fat which despite spending many hours in the gym, just won’t budge, ruining the perfect fit of our clothes.”

The method uses a laser light to heat the fat cells, which then leak into the patient's lymphatics.

The liver then processes the fat particles which are finally excreted from the body as waste.

Honestly, we're not even a little convinced. 

We'll take 'bra-bulge' over lasers any day. 



Many of us focus on celebrities in the spotlight.

Their silky, flowing hair, flawless complexion, designer clothes and sparkling blink makes us all a tad jealous, whether we like to admit it or not.

It's easy to get caught up with them – but what we forget about ALL the time, is that they have a team of people behind them.

They have make-up artists, hairdressers, skin specialists, stylists and social media experts  with them in every move they make.


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Not many celebrities remind us about this side of their lives, except for Blake Lively, who wants to teach her daughters that 'perfection' is a myth.

Speaking to Refinery29, the Gossip Girl alum addressed unfair beauty standards that seem to be enforced onto women in this day and age.

"What you're seeing on red carpets and in magazines takes a lot of effort and a lot of people.


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"People don't understand that it's all very constructed, [and] what little girls are seeing isn't what [celebrities] look like when they wake up in the morning – even though it's no less beautiful."

Blake goes on to say that her perception totally changed when she had children and that she doesn't want her two daughters to grow up in an unrealistic world.

"There's this awareness of what they're going to be exposed to and what they grow up seeing.


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"For me, it's important for my daughters to know that it's not real life. They're seeing me dressed up in all this hair and make-up, but they also see me without that.

"I want them to see both sides, because there is never just one side."

Many of us, whether it's a celebrity or that gorgeous girl next door, try to keep up with the standards that society impose on us.

And while it's all well and good to look your best, we shouldn't be putting ourselves under that much pressure, when we have so much more to offer other than our looks.



Esther Honig, a journalist, blogger and freelance reporter decided to prove once and for all that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

She conducted an experiment to “examine how the standards of unobtainable beauty vary across cultures on a global level.”

Honig contacted various freelances across the globe with her photograph and a message:

“Hi my name is Esther Honig and I would like you to enhance this image using Photoshop. I trust you to take whatever steps you see necessary. Make me look beautiful.”


When Honig got the photoshopped images back, she was surprised at the amount of variation:

“Each photo editor draws from a palate of both their cultural influence and their personal aesthetic preferences. This is why two images from the same country may be nothing alike.

“Overall what I’ve learned from this project is this; Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.”

Take a look at some of the photos below.













As a photo editor at TakePart, Lauren Wade is well used to photoshopping pictures to hide imperfections. In fact, the editor says that even an image considered to look “natural” is anything but.

While us beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes, today’s ideal beauty is narrowed down to a few who are considered perfect.

Comparing today’s beauty standards to what was considered beautiful back in the day of Botticelli and Jean Auguste Dominique, Lauren says: “Throughout art history, painters from Titian to Rubens to Gauguin found beauty in the bodies of women who would never fit into a size 0.” So, she  decided to see exactly what famous paintings would look like if they were photoshopped in line with today’s beauty standards.

Describing her project, Lauren says: “We’ve taken a digital liquefy brush to the painstakingly layered oils of some of the most celebrated paintings of the female form, nipping and tucking at will. There may be something sacrilegious in that, but the same could be said for our contemporary ideas of beauty.”

The images are truly captivating and while it has opened our eyes to the huge change in what is considered beautiful, Lauren has also given us all a lesson in art history.