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Photoretouching the Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses… for the longest time that seemed like the American past-time. See your neighbor get a 50″-inch flat-screen television, you had to spring for the 72″-incher. See your neighbor roll up in a BMW 3-series, you had to get yourself a lease on a 5-series. See your neighbor install a hot-tub? You had to dig your own in-ground pool. For years, consumerism dominated America and so many people went in the hole to one-up their neighbors, friends, and family.

Fortunately that little game seems to be waning along with the economy but I find that this unhealthy competition looks a lot like photo-retouching… something a recent Dove commercial railed against.

What’s my point?

You can retouch all the photos you want but what’s underneath is what’s authentic and real. All the women in those magazines started off beautiful, they wouldn’t have been chosen otherwise, and the retouching created an image that is simply unattainable and unrealistic. Did you see how they used computers to stretch that model’s face? It looks weird when you know what she started out as but once you throw it on a billboard, it looks normal.

It’s the same with our ridiculous level of consumer consumption. When you see that fancy new car or that nice television, chances are you don’t see the high level of consumer debt (credit cards? second mortgage? HELOC?) that’s behind it. We envision a lavish lifestyle as normal and stretch ourselves to attain it. Someone should do a commercial about that.

Be true to yourself and who you are, don’t try to keep up with someone digging their own financial grave.

To help occupy the rest of your weekend, here are some more retouched photos: