Sometimes when I'm waiting in line at Wal-Mart or Kroger, I will often glance around at the various magazines and tabloids they have on display. Depending on how many people are in front of me and how adept they are at having their items rung up and then paying for them, I often find a good bit of time to scan the covers of the various periodicals for sale there.
Usually after having a good chuckle over the antics of the bat-boy that was found living in a cave somewhere in central Utah or that Elvis is working in a truck-stop outside of Phoenix, my eyes will drift across the plethora of magazines there that can tell me everything from what's coming up on TV that week to how to lose eight pounds in three days by eating only pinto beans.
When I was at UT, one of the classes I took was on writing for magazines. One of the interesting tid-bits that we learned that a lot of magazines are impulse buys and, for the most, you have an average of five to eight seconds to catch the consumer's attention and get him or her to take the magazine off the shelf and put into the cart or on the conveyor belt. I often think of this fact when I'm standing in line, looking at the various covers and how they're all trying to entice me in that five to eight seconds they have to go from shelf to cart or conveyor belt.
One of the most common magazines that is featured near the check-out counter is Cosmo.
I remember a few years ago, a friend of mine (who is female) bought an issue so we could mock the articles in it. As near as I can determine, Cosmo
is the female equivalent of Maxim...only instead of having guys on the cover, it features a different actress or female celebrity on the cover each month. One thing that has always struck me about Cosmo is that the person on the cover looks familiar, but sometimes it takes a second glance to figure out who it is. And sometimes they look radically different on the cover of Cosmo than they do on the hit show or movie they're part of.
Now, this isn't the kind of thing that keeps me lying awake at night...but it was something that crossed my mind now and then in the check-out line.
A few days ago, I came across a link
that addressed this issue. It's an on-line demo that shows how a picture is manipulated via PhotoShop to make the model appear "hotter." It's interesting and definitely worth a look.
I found this interesting for two reasons. One is to see the subtle and not so subtle manipulation of the image to somehow come up to some virtually unattainable standard of female beauty we're all supposed to have. The other is in light of an argument I saw posted on the TrekBBS about the Princess Leia in the bikini web site
I linked to the other day. If you dig around the web site, you can find
females who have made their own copy of the infamous outfit and have photos posted there.
An interseting debate was set off when one poster said the women were not hot enough, thus sparking off the debate of--well, these are "real" women and not super models or PhotoShopped images that are out on the 'Net.
It's an interesting debate and one that I've brought up before
. I wish I could say I'd been terribly enlightened since the first time I brought this subject up. But I'm not any more enlightened now than I was then. But I do find all of this terribly fascinating--and not just because it's about beautiful women or our definition of what makes a woman beautiful.
I do know one thing though...I am fortunate to know a few women, none of whom look anything like the models featured in those magazines. But I find them more beautiful than that. I have a friend who was given the gift and ability to sing. I've heard her sing a few time (she was the back-up for Clay Aiken when he was here the GEK a few weeks ago) and every time I hear her sing, it only further underscores what I already know--this woman is beautiful. Not just her singing but her personality, her spirit, everything. I am fortunate that I know a lot of women like that...and I will also admit I'm thankful that women are not nearly as shallow as we men can be. That they see beyond our male imperfections and find us reasonably attractive as well and give us the time of day. I mean, I know I've got six pack abs--they're just in a cooler!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/27/2005 02:37:00 PM