Slideshow: Beauty Ideals Make Women Look Generic

Photo courtesy 123RF.com.

Photo courtesy 123RF.com.

I remember one time, probably about a year ago, I was standing in line at the grocery store, looking at a magazine with Faith Hill on the cover. It took me several seconds to realize that it was not, in fact, Britney Spears. The two woman actually look quite different, but in magazines, movies and TV, women are airbrushed or made up to fit an ideal of beauty that disregards the loveliness of individuality.

Photographer Marc Erwin Babej and plastic surgeon Maria LoTempio worked together to create a series of photographs titled, "Mask of Perfection." LoTempio marked the faces of 12 women in their twenties, all of whom would be considered traditionally beautiful, with pre-operative markings to indicate what she would do to "upgrade" their physical features. Check out the slideshow at the Huffington Post.

The photographs offer a fascinating critique of the perspective that there's something wrong with a woman whose face (or body) diverges in even a minor way from socially constructed conceptions of beauty. This encourages women to alter their appearances in ways that make them look generic. It also makes it more difficult for women to accept and love themselves as they are. The reality is, our unique features make us beautiful!