Photoshop of the ’50s

Hello everybody!

For years there has been a big discussion going on about photoshop. Naturally beautiful women being shaped, stretched, enhanced and slimmed down by a couple of simple clicks in a computer program. It creates a beauty standard that is almost or sometimes completely impossible to obtain and gives young women and men a wrong idea of body image. One would say that this is something of the current time, but think again! 

A great example is the very famous painter Gil Elvgren (1914 – 1980) from Minnesota. He was an American painter of pin-up girls advertising and illustrations. Elvgren was a master in painting the ‘ideal’ female beauty. His paintings were used for advertisements for big enterprises, like for Coca-Cola. His work obtained great popularity in the 40’s and 50’s. But little did people know, Elvgrens work was inspired by real women. I found a great page here where finally the women that have inspired him so much are put in the spotlight, and it got me thinking.


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As you can see the girls that were photographed were stunning just the way they were, but were enhanced in Elvgrens paintings, legs are elongated, waists are made slimmer, breasts are augmented, facial features are softened and hair is made fuller and longer. This is actually exactly what is done nowadays with photoshop. So is the strive for perfection something off all times, and is the strive for the beauty ideal of the 50’s that we adore so much actually also unobtainable? 

Well yes, if we look at Gil Elvgrens art maybe. But the photography of women in the 40’s and 50’s was still free of these magical clicks called photoshop. Of course the women that were photographed were models, but real women were displayed, with everything they had and everything they lacked. Love-handles, itty bitty waists, small breasts, big breasts, big hips, small hips, cellulite and maybe even a little bit of a tummy here and there. I think that this time gave a lot better look upon women and their bodies, for both male and female. 


For example Marilyn Monroe’s famous photo in her beautiful white bathing suit. She look very sultry and sensual. It clearly shows she had beautiful hips, maybe a bit of a tummy, a beautiful bum and I bet if you would be able look very close you would see some cellulite on her legs. But still this woman was considered the most beautiful and sexy woman alive! How have we come this far from embracing women for how they are built to body shaming if you do not fulfill a certain image? Has the society mixed up things? Beauty and shape, size, color, weight?

Lets see what the dictionary says:


1. The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses.

2. One that is beautiful, especially a beautiful woman.

3. A quality or feature that is most effective, gratifying, or telling.

The definition of beauty states nothing about having a certain shape, size, weight, color, or anything. So if we take this definition literally, it means that everybody can be beautiful. Everybody has qualities or features that are effective, gratifying or telling. Wether it is on the inside or the outside. As the beautiful Dita von Teese has said before: ‘You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody that hates peaches’. If you turn this around it applies as well. You could have traits that you might not like yourself, but there are plenty of people that will see the beauty in it. You appearance doesn’t determine your worth!



So there you have it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We as the society we create ourselves should be more loving and caring to one another, changing the harsh beauty ideal that exists now. So I would like to give you an assignment. If you run into somebody in the street, see a photo of somebody on Facebook etc., it can be a complete stranger or somebody you know, and you see something you find beautiful or something you like, tell them! Make their day and I am sure it will make yours!

Lots of love,

 xoxo Miss Ginger Tulips.


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