Scantily clad celebs often grace the covers of fitness magazines, baring their washboard abs, toned thighs and sculpted arms. It's no secret that most of these photos are retouched to add definition, slim away bulk, smooth fine lines, remove cellulite and even out skin tone. Can images like this be good for us? Should readers be warned that what they see and read isn't realistic?
This writer thinks so. In an opinion piece, Martha Brockenbrough of MSN Entertainment suggests that celebrity bikini photos and articles should carry warning labels, much like cigarettes do:
"WARNING! ARTICLE CLAIMS DIET AND EXERCISE GAVE 41-YEAR-OLD CELEBRITY A BODY THIS SPECTACULAR. SHE'S ACTUALLY PROBABLY HAD PLASTIC SURGERY, A PERSONAL CHEF, HOURS WITH A TRAINER, AND A LITTLE HELP FROM PHOTOSHOP, SO BEFORE YOU START FEELING GLUM, JUST REMEMBER WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT IS AN ILLUSION, A MANUFACTURED IMAGE TO SELL MAGAZINES DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU FEEL BEASTLY SO THAT YOU SPEND MONEY TO IMPROVE YOUR LOOKS DESPITE THE CRAPPY ECONOMY."
Joking aside, I have to agree. Despite knowing that these images aren't 100% real, we still aspire to be like them and feel bad about ourselves when we see them. The cumulative effect of seeing these images from childhood to adulthood cannot be good for your self-esteem or body image. And what does it teach our sons, brothers, fathers and husbands about a woman's body: that you could look like that if you only tried harder? That having washboard abs after having three kids is doable, even expected? That a woman's body should be one of her highest priorities?
Read the article for yourself and then tell me: Do you think celebrity photos and fitness articles should carry warning labels? If not, do you think that they're realistic and truthful?
More From SparkPeople