The Body

The Body

The internet is all kerfuffled because of one un-retouched photo of Cindy Crawford. If you’re my age or close to it you remember when Cindy Crawford seemed to be on the cover of every magazine in America. If you went to the grocery store and didn’t see at least five pictures of Cindy “The Body” Crawford you might begin to think that you’d slipped into an alternate universe in your sleep.

 

Anyone remember this:

All I can say is, when MTV used to run this bumper I practically said amen at the end of every statement. This, perhaps, has something to do with why I’ve respected Dennis Leary’s views and given him a wide berth ever since.

Today “The Body” is 48 years old. The interwebs are abuzz with people claiming that Ms. Crawford and Marie Claire magazine published these un-photoshopped pictures, but Marie Claire themselves have denied this. The photo that’s been the most widely circulated (the one above) isn’t even from a recent Marie Claire feature. It was taken as a part of a shoot that ran in the Spanish language version of the magazine in 2013. The magazine’s publisher is fine with it being leaked because Cindy is fine with it.

And why wouldn’t she be? Sure, it’s not the flawless, artfully rendered version of herself that is best known to the world, but I’d venture to guess that she’s well aware that most 48 year old women would kill to look like un-photoshopped Cindy Crawford. There is no doubt in my mind that she works hard to stay as fit and youthful as she is.

What’s slightly nuts is that this is controversial.

There’s two levels of unsettling stuff here for me. First, there’s the cadre of folks who gasp at the difference between the Photoshopped version of Cindy they’re used to and the unfiltered version we see here. Are you actually surprised by the difference? Has it not become abundantly clear that magazine covers are not reality and that basically no human beings on earth look very much like the photos of people that appear in our media? This is not a modern phenomenon. Published photos of movie and TV stars and fashion models have been retouched using airbrushing going back into the 1930s, at least. The directors of the TV shows back into the 1960s would rub vaseline onto the lenses of their cameras to hide the wrinkles and blemishes on the faces of their leading ladies. It’s fair to say that there are many, many famous faces and bodies you have never really seen.

The second level of unsettling are the people who have actually criticized the way that Cindy Crawford looks in these photos, and I’m actually bothered a lot more by these folks. There’s a lot of people who would like to see an end to retouched photos in magazines because they believe it sends a bad message to young people and sets a standard of beauty so high that it’s unachievable. Personally, I don’t agree. You might as well also ban the telling of any story that resolves itself in an unrealistic way. No more superhero movies or action and adventure stories. Actually, you’d probably have to just shut down Hollywood because nothing produced there resembles reality. But when people are aghast that a really gorgeous 48 year old woman looks like she’s put in a few miles, my resolve weakens.

I like to believe that people are not tragically dumb, but daily life tests this theory repeatedly. It’s one thing to enjoy a touched up photo. It is quite another to find an un-touched-up photo repulsive because you are in active denial about the true nature of things.

I say this to my friends and my coaching clients a lot – we are all going to age and gravity always wins. Obsession with how you look (or how other people look) is unhealthy. On the list of the 10 most important things in life whether or not you look like a cover model didn’t even make the top 200. When it comes to the body (or The Body) what matters is whether or not the one you’ve got supports you in the things you want to do.

The old saying goes that if you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything. Are you free from illness? Can you move around and do the stuff you want to without pain? When you need to apply force with your muscles do you have the strength you want or the stamina?

That’s the real deal, my friends.

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