Since the dawn of the film age, we have always believed that movie stars are prettier than we are. Classic beauties such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly conveyed an air of effortless beauty, style and sex appeal. Later, it was people like Brooke Shields, Kelly LeBrock and Christina Applegate that conveyed the beauty ideal with their high hair and tight pants. These days, we look to people such as Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry as the beauties of the day.
As if these women weren’t enough to live up to, now there is Photoshop, so even the super gorgeous don’t look like the versions of themselves that grace magazine pages on the news stands. For me, all of that changed in 2008 when I bought my first High Definition television. With those crystal clear 720 pixels (I was in grad school and couldn’t afford the 1080p) I saw celebrities as they were never intended to be seen – flaws and all. It was as close to an in-person meeting as I could attain.
Something wonderful happened with the advent of HD TV. We are able to see celebrities for who they are, rather than the overly Photoshopped, excessively made up versions of them that are oh so common. I remember watching an episode of “The Ghost Whisperer” in which I could see tiny crow’s feet surrounding Jennifer Love Hewitt’s eyes. Jennifer and I are pretty close to the same age, so to see her face display the same “flaws” that graced my own was a real confidence booster.
After HD TV, many websites and gossip rags started running “Celebs Without Photoshop” pictorials, in which you could see what these ladies look like in real life – the way they would if they were hanging out in your living room. All of a sudden, we got to see that Kim Kardashian does have cellulite, and Britney Spears’ legs are not as skinny as they seem. In fact, it’s gotten so bad, that the UK has recently proposed a law requiring magazines to disclose when someone’s picture has been retouched to an unattainable level.
Seeing women who are considered to be the most beautiful in the world with circles under their eyes, wrinkles and cellulite is liberating and invigorating. It has made me feel less self-conscious about my own perceived flaws. I have begun to realize that I don’t have to wear a cover up over my bikini. Hey – if Scarlett Johansson has a few bumps on her butt, why should I worry about mine? She had no trouble snagging Ryan Reynolds, so there is hope for us girls!
Unfortunately, HD TV has also led to another Hollywood trend. In order to combat the HD cameras and keep looking “young,” a lot of people have turned to excessive plastic surgery. I recently happened upon an episode of “Cougar Town” in which I noticed that Courteney Cox has had way too much done to her face. Anyone who watched “Friends” knows that Ms. Cox is stunning. There is absolutely no reason for her to use Botox or lip fillers. Rather than looking younger, these procedures tend to make the face take on a waxy appearance that is plain frightening.
Rather than fight the aging process, I think that Hollywood should just embrace the things that happen during the course of aging. After all, Baby Boomers are beginning to retire and Gen-Xers are coasting into middle age. As a member of the cusp between the Gen-X and Gen-Y generations, I feel that we need to take back the aging process to prove that there is nothing wrong with it. By seeing women like Diane Keaton and Helen Mirren who are still incredibly beautiful regardless of a few wrinkles, it gives girls like me less trepidation about getting older. It shows us that we can still be sexy in our 40’s, 50’s and beyond and that we won’t be discarded like yesterday’s trash.
It leads to more confidence as we get older so we can spend less time standing in the mirror and searching for worry lines and more time interacting with the world and following our genes. Our mothers and grandmothers were part of an amazing generation of women who fought so that we could be whomever we wanted to be, and they gave us more choices in life. We should embrace these women and accept all that they’ve done, rather than ridiculing them for a little cellulite. Thank you HD for setting me free from myself.
Alaina Brandenburger is a Colorado native and a pretty well rounded person. She enjoys people watching, sports, fashion and all things pop culture. A lifelong writer, Alaina likes to share her opinions with others and hopes that they are entertained. She is currently drifting through life observing, musing and enjoying the ride. You can read more of her work here, and follow her on Twitter.