Airbrushed-NationReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Most people have definite ideas about fashion. Men and women can tell you what it takes for a woman to be considered beautiful, how men and women are permitted by the public eye to age at different rates, and what we should, must or want to do to live up to the ideals when it comes to aging. Can we change how we are perceived as women as nature takes its course and wrinkles begin to appear? For example, if a woman makes a personal choice to forego dying her hair and remain truly and beautifully naturally grey, isn’t that her choice and her prerogative to define her own beauty ideal?

Who isn’t airbrushed or Photoshoped these days? The magazines dub it as “art” when a cover ready top model or popular celebrity is brushed to perfection. Airbrushed Nation reviews the media culprits who airbrush their photos and explains why these practices persist. But the real reason for airbrushing may have to do more with the expectations of the public, and the fact that these images keep American women chasing an unrealistic and idealistic image or goal which can never, ever be achieved.

Airbrushed Nation offers a history of the media coverage of women in magazines and describes how women have had to succumb to an unrealistic vision of perfection. The book sports “glossy facts” or trivia on the history of fashion magazines, and includes modeling agency surveys or “insider input”. Readers can use section pullouts to learn more about personal events that happened to models in the past. These real life scenarios have shaped or shaken the models and their faith in how women are treated by the media and fashion magazines.

It is interesting that the author gives so much information on a variety of topics related to the unrealistic expectations of beauty. The book is recommended to anyone with an interest in the beauty industry, modeling and aging gracefully.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Seal Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.