The pursuit of perfect looks
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - May 28, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — If those underwear advertisements showed real people, for sure none of them would have six-packs. None of them would have chiseled shoulders, angular faces or sculpted arms. And none of them would have lean calves, and none of them would look like, well, most real men and women.

Moreover, nowadays, what cannot be achieved by rigorous, out-of-this-world training and layers upon layers of cosmetics will be taken care of by PhotoShop. These are the enhancements that advertising industry professionals apply to make things look out of the ordinary – meaning ‘unnatural’. These people know that what is natural is commonplace and, thus, won’t grab attention.

In other words, those ‘perfect’ people appearing in advertisements are fakes, to a good extent. Everybody knows that, and yet everybody allow themselves to be tricked that those models are for real. In fact, most people make those looks in the ads as their standard of beauty.

The fashion and cosmetics industries probably started it, for obvious reasons. They had to push “perfect looks” forward to get their products sold. They did it in the guise of encouraging consumers to take care of their bodies so they may look their best.

It’s been pushed and pushed since. Nowadays, many people are willing to compromise the wellbeing of the body just to be able to have that look. At fitness gyms, it’s common to see guys by the bench press with less body fat than Michelangelo’s “David.” And nice girls are starving themselves supposedly to attain that ‘ideal’ weight.

The penchant for body aesthetics has now broken free of the limits of the fashion and cosmetics industries (if at all they ever were). Social media is replete with images of real people with perfect looks – sculpted shoulders, chiseled abs and all. And these people are not even models or their pictures retouched.

It may seem like a good thing to be having these perfect-looking shapes and faces around. It looks like more and more people – the young especially – are taking good care of their bodies. Yes, but then again, if only it’s really about taking care of the body.

It can also be a sign that the level of personal insecurity in the population is rising. There seems to be confusion whether outward looks are really that important so as to warrant all the effort. It’s hard to decide amid the popular penchant for physical beauty, where one’s self-worth depends on whether she or he resembles those in glossy magazine ads.

Perhaps it will help to remember that the concept of beauty is relative. This is most true before the age of global media, when each region of the world had its own take on what is beautiful. And the standards of beauty are also a function of time – there was a time when it was the voluptuous woman who was considered beautiful.

Is it ever possible to have perfect looks? Again, it’s hard to say. But what is certain is that ‘imperfection’ does have its appeal too. And imperfect people can still look fashionable and reasonably attractive.

Truth is, imperfections are an unconquerable characteristic of all the vain creatures that walk the planet. And imperfect people are likely to be drawn to other imperfect people, because they’re more relatable and reachable. To be always looking up to ‘perfect’ people in sheer admiration can strain one’s neck… skew his or her touch with reality.

Okay, it’s not flattering to be told one is not quite model-looking. But it sure hurts more for one to be told that he or she does not even look real.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with