Has Magazine Prettiness Replaced Real Life?

“Magazine prettiness has replaced real life.” I noted that in a book I once read. I can’t remember that book, but the line stuck with me. And isn’t that the truth? Everywhere we turn everyone is so intent on perfection. The message being broadcast is if it doesn’t look perfect, then it must not be worth it. Β We focus on making our homes look like you stepped into the latest Pottery Barn catalog and ourselves look like we stepped off the fashion runway. Cosmetic surgery patients are becoming younger and younger and I’m referring to them pre-surgery not post. We are so focused on being picture perfect that we often lose sight of our true origins, who we truly were before we started building that facade.

Yet, our origins actually have a lot to do with this perfect picture we present. Many of us were raised the old-fashioned way under the “everything’s fine” mentality. When asked, “how are you?” one’s standard response should always be “fine” because no one really wants to hear otherwise. And it’s true, we ask and answer that question multiple times a day never expecting the exchange to go differently because we all know we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry.

Just take a scroll down anyone’s Facebook news feed to find innumerable status posts regaling “friends” with how their lives are sheer perfection, their children sweet angels, their spouse Prince Charming and their bosses a joy to work with every day. The latest Pinterest craze is an oversized bulletin board of the perfect woman, wearing the perfect outfit, preparing the perfect recipe, for her perfect children, to serve in their perfectly decorated home. It’s no wonder our Christmas card photos don’t show our true selves, instead often depicting a family straight out of Pleasantville. Instead of opening our homes to friends, we hide behind closed doors for fear of giving them a glimpse into our not so orderly living rooms and ultimately chaotic lives. Are we afraid they’ll read the crayon on the wall and realize we’re just human, trying to keep our head above water?

All this effort to present ourselves in our best light, show our best side, wear our Sunday best is interesting.Β Do we do it because it’s what’s expected of us?Β Like toddlers singing, “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” are we clapping simply because everyone expects us to? Or are we afraid to take a close look at our imperfections? Afraid to express who we really are for fear of being judged? Are we that afraid to embrace our flaws and accept our quirks? Or is it easier to go with the flow, go through the motions, pretend otherwise, and not take a chance at the unknown? In a world of imitations, special effects, and cosmetic surgery it is hard to see what’s real and what’s not. Even a fake smile can start to feel like the real deal after a while. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess that depends on whether you’re on the giving end or the receiving end. Or does it?

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46 thoughts on “Has Magazine Prettiness Replaced Real Life?

  1. Pingback: Don’t Drink, Don’t Smoke? What Do You Do? « littlemisswordy

    • Tamara, thank you for hosting and stopping by. I’m not sure why we strive to hide our imperfections when in my opinion it is precisely those imperfections that make us beautiful.

  2. Pingback: Has Magazine Prettiness Replaced Real Life? | C...

    • Perfection is way overrated in my opinion! Thanks for stopping by. I added the Creative Buzz Hop button in my sidebar. Hopefully it will attract more participants! Thanks for hosting.

  3. My husband and I were just discussing how all the people claiming to have perfect homes would freak out if you just casually dropped by to visit. Yes, I think we are being told to be magazine pretty, but I think there’s a certain number of us saying, “eh, screw that.” We must keep marching onward.
    Linking up from the Creative Buzz Hop

    • Exactly! People don’t really live that way, yet put so much effort into convincing others they do. I’m all for keeping a clean house, with nice things, but I prefer my home look lived in. Thanks for stopping by! I added the Creative Buzz Hop button in my sidebar to hopefully attract more participants. πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve grown weary of Facebook for the same reasons…it tends to revolve around bragging, complaining or screaming opinions :/ Blogging is a creative outlet and the WordPress community is so supportive, interesting, and always challenges me to grow πŸ™‚

  5. I think there’s a lot to be said for putting our best foot forward, BUT I also believe it can be a pretty short step from that into putting on an act. Of course I want others to think highly of me, but I don’t want that high opinion to be based on something false. I think true beauty, whether we’re talking about people or our homes or whatever, depends on the degree to which we can be real with those whose opinions matter.

  6. The perfection of staged photo shoots are hard to duplicate and the superficial aspect of social media gets to me too, but I have to admit that I appreciate that not everyone unloads every time I ask, “How are you today?” It is really a greeting, not an invitation for a therapy session… Hahaha! πŸ™‚
    Thanks for bringing this link to the party! I have been out of town all week and am just beginning to catch up. Be sure to click on some links and tell them, “Susie sent me!” Have fun!

  7. Oh boy is this true and does it strike a chord with me. We live in a small town that is rather well to do and most of my children’s friends houses are magazine pretty (and very large). I have a bit of a hang up over our small, older house and sometimes hesitate to invite people over because of this. Life is messy and there should be no shame in that. We are all just doing the best we can and by pretending all is well, all is “fine” when it is is not can’t be healthy.

    Great post!

    • Thanks for the visit and the follow! When I was a kid, our house was the go to place and believe me when I tell you some of my friends homes were definitely bigger, nicer, etc. As an adult, mother, and wife, I now try to make our home as welcoming for my children’s friends as my parents made ours for my friends. The good times and warm feelings people experience when we open our homes to them is what they will always remember, much more than our decor. πŸ˜‰

  8. It’s important to remind ourselves that what we see in magazines, is there to inspire ideas. It’s not real life. Just like reading a person’s blog – it’s there to inspire or entertain or inform, but it’s never the full story.
    Very well written πŸ™‚

    • I agree wholeheartedly that what is seen on television, in magazines, etc. is meant to inspire. Unfortunately, not everyone adheres to that philosophy and some think it needs to be a way of life. Thank you so much for the visit and the comment! πŸ™‚

  9. What a thought-provoking post! I recently read something about how pinterest is ruining women’s lives. There is definitely truth to some of it. Some people’s Facebook news feeds make me feel awful. Some people’s fb news feeds remind me why we’re friends in the first place. Pinterest can be overwhelming and make you feel like you’ll never be good enough. But then, if you throw away that feeling, there are some great, realistic ideas that make life fun! My sister makes awesome pinterest recipes and I’ve gotten some amazing party ideas from there too. It’s all what you take away from it and how you let it affect you, which can depend on the day and your mood and what’s going on in your life.
    And like whencrazymeetsexhaustion says, there are those of us who keep it real on the web and we find each other and then the world is a better place. πŸ™‚

    • I’m not knocking Pinterest or Facebook for that matter. I participate in both and have gotten some cool tips from Pinterest. My favorite may have been to fill the bathtub with glow sticks at bath time, for the kids of course πŸ˜‰ and dim the lights. It’s just that overall Pinterest is so picture perfect. From day one I created a board titled “Keeping it Real” to balance things out.

      I’m so glad to have found others like yourself and other bloggers who like me are okay with keeping it real! πŸ™‚

      • I didn’t mean to be critical. I think you were just spurring an active discussion, and looking at the comments it worked! I do agree with you. Oh and my new post is not being critical of this one either, this just reminded me of something that’s been in the back of my mind for quite awhile.

      • No worries…I love an active discussion and was wanting to come clean that I am active on both Pinterest and Facebook. I’ll go check out your latest post too! πŸ™‚

  10. I hope we are all on the brink of getting more real–by that I mean: not judging others harshly for our own foibles–and thereby not judging ourselves. We are all of us imperfect…now let’s laugh about it (and carry on) but let’s be honest for a minute, and realize the imperfect cloth from which we are all cut. Lose the gloss! Keep the manners…:)

    • “Lose the Gloss” could have been the title for this post! I love it because it resonates on so many levels. I have even stopped ordering glossy photos because the matte finish seems a bit more real to me. You’re right about us all being imperfect…the key would definitely be to laugh about it, accept it and carry on as you say.

    • Thank you. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has written about this as it is around every corner. Thank goodness for the real people I’ve met out here who aren’t afraid to show their true colors!

  11. I think what you have described is called ‘affluenza’, where abundance allows for the free time to compare one’s self to the wrong end of the social and economic spectrums. Personally, I think everyone was just a little better off when Martha Stewart was in the pokey.

    Nice post.

    • Yes, Martha Stewart was definitely a huge influence in this race to perfection in all things domestic. Pokey or no Pokey, others have joined her ranks, and the rest of us seem to eat it up. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading.

  12. You nailed it when it comes to human beings! We really are so afraid of rejection, that we only put on our best face. But to defend myself on Pinterest…I DO have pics of curvy girls and old fashinable ladies, just to make a point…As for the rest, well, I still wear my make-up to the supermarket! Thanks for a great read.

    • I have made strides, but am still a work in progress. I love to decorate my home (although I don’t have a permanent one these days), I like fashion (although most days I’m in gym attire all day), and Pinterest has provided some great tips and recipes (although the kitchen is not my happy place). Thanks for reading my thoughts.

  13. I tagged you for coffee on my blog today Little Miss Wordy.

    I hadn’t thought about Pinterest that way. It is all rather perfect isn’t it? But I like to borrow little snippets of perfect, to pepper my otherwise very imperfect life. And I hadn’t thought about our homes having to look like magazines as well as for us to try to look like models. Quite impossible but I certainly tried. I should have opened my eyes to others’ real homes instead. Great insight.

    • Thank you. I love my morning cup and will head over to check it out.

      I have a Pinterest account and have enjoyed many tips out there, but it does seem to border on Pleasantville at times. πŸ˜‰ I like your approach to “borrow little snippets of perfect to pepper an otherwise imperfect life.”

  14. Finally, someone who gets me! The heart of this post is precisely why I took up blogging. I grew tired of keeping it all together. It was exhausting. Then last year on my birthday, I wrote my very first post and decided to take a plunge into the unknown. A world that could’ve easily been filled with judgements and rejection.

    But to my surprise, I have found a place where I can talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I no longer feel the need to be perfect. I just come as I am and it’s people like you who make that possible. Thank you for embracing a sometimes walking mess!

    • We are all sometimes a bit of a mess! I’m definitely still a work in progress, but the older I get the better I become at accepting my flaws and quirks and all those little imperfections that make me ME! This is definitely a great place for us to embrace our humanity. I’ve said before how impressed I am with the support out here. Each day I encounter someone who makes me smile, makes me think, makes me see things from a different perspective, and most importantly makes me glad I started blogging.

      • Perfection is definitely boring! I just celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary and told my husband we may not always be perfect, but if that means another 18 years of love, life, and happiness then I say perfect marriages are overrated! “Bring on the messes” may now be my new life motto thanks to you! πŸ™‚

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