Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Digital Beauty

First of all: I've first seen this clip in a now defunct blog - actually the blog which inspired me to get one myself. It's not only defunct, it even has been deleted and the link now leads (or at least once led, I haven't checked it out in a while) to a website with sexual content. But I remembered this clip because it made me think "every young woman should see this clip, preferably before she hits puberty" then and it still does now.

The link to this clip actually was presented to me in a new thread of the "MangaSzene"-Forum, together with another one I will show as well, but at the bottom of this post.

The clip is titled "Dove Evolution" and, as you have probably seen, shows how much work, both in the 'real world' and the computer, is necessary to create the perfect image of today's models. The problem is: most women don't realize this.

They think that there's only some make-up and maybe the perfect lighting and that's that. The whole, rather new process of recreating the whole picture in the computer is something they don't know much about.

'Recreating in the computer' to them maybe means smoothing over a few pimples and correcting a few areas where the light wasn't optimal. But they would never think you could actually change the whole face, lengthen (or shorten, but to that, see the second clip) the neckline and, basically, rebuild the whole picture. Even I could do some of those things at home - and I'm neither a professional, as far as that is concerned, nor do I have some top-of-the-line professional software (my image processing software did cost me shocking 15 euros at the closest electronic market and, from my point of view, has been worth every cent).

That's, basically, what the new thread I mentioned is mostly about: the question whether or not our idea of 'beauty' is still realistic in a time when everything can be created in the digital world.

Well, 'beauty' was always a little bit unrealistic ... that's what images are all about, usually. Someone, a person, a painter, these days a programmer maybe sets a trend and everyone tries to follow it. Ever since Twiggy, the ultra-thin model of the Sixties, models have become thinner and thinner.

That is, I think, basically also because in the modern world, at least in those countries usually called the "First World", we have more than enough food, so very thin people are an exception. When, in the dawn of mankind, people rarely had enough to eat, they idolized fat women. In the western countries women with a slight Asian look are considered 'exotic' - in Japan women invest a lot of money to get their eyes 'opened' a bit more through surgery (so they look like someone from the west) and dye their black hair to look less Asian. In other words: Fashionable isn't as much 'fat' or 'thin', 'Caucasian' or 'Asian', but always 'exceptional'.

So, in a few years, there ought to be a backlash from all those super-thin models, provided enough women use everything at their disposal to get as thin as possible ... then the 'fat' women will be an exotic minority. (Well, a woman can dream, you know.)

But now to the second clip. It's called "slob evolution" and was linked in the same forum. As is often the case, there's at least one possible parody to every interesting movie you might find online. And as the "Dove Evolution" has had quite a lot of viewers, somebody created the complete opposite: how to turn a good-looking young man into the guy you get after having been married to that cutie for twenty years. It's shocking...

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