Negative Body Image? Blame Photoshop

A YouTube video shows you just how much the software program can do.

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My friend Chrissi pointed out this YouTube video to me yesterday showing just how much Photoshop can do to turn an unattractive, obese woman into a size-4 stunner. Trouble is, most of us don't see our bodies digitally doctored and spend way too much time staring at our real selves in the mirror, comparing how we look to those "perfect" bodies that grace magazine covers. As a result, far too many of us punish ourselves with brutal diets or self-loathing thoughts. In fact, 1 in 10 of us partakes in behaviors—bingeing and overexercising, skipping meals, abusing laxatives—that are indicative of an eating disorder.

It's nothing short of crazy to hold ourselves to the unrealistic standards set by cover girls, especially when we see how easily their photos can be faked. Certainly, some celebrities do have killer bods, and a few even admit how hard they work for them. Jennifer Aniston says she shuns sweets and exercises every day, but she also recently admitted on The View that her nude GQ cover was courtesy of Photoshop. Some actresses, like Kate Winslet, have even railed against being airbrushed, preferring instead to show their real selves—flaws and all. Still, I wonder if Winslet caved on her December Vanity Fair cover, which professional airbrush artists say looks like it was radically altered. After seeing Winslet's fuller-figured self at the Academy Awards, my first thought was of how beautiful she looked, and then I felt a little rush of relief. How nice to see some arm jiggle!

  • Related: Here are 5 things to tell yourself that can improve your body image.