Women Were Photoshopped To Reflect The Cultural Beauty Standards Of Their Heritage

"I'm greater than the sum of my parts."

The ideal standards of beauty widely accepted in a particular culture can put a lot of pressure on the women living in it. These beauty standards differ from place to place, but being made to feel you are less than perfectly beautiful is pretty universal. It can be extremely difficult to live up to the Photoshopped images we see in media and easy to wonder what your body might look like if you just changed a few things. 

In a new video for BuzzFeed, four women — Safiya, Kristin, Jen, and Freddie — were able to see just that. Each woman was Photoshopped to look like the ideal beauty standard in the culture of their respective heritages. Photos of Safiya were edited to reflect Indian beauty standards, Kristin's photos were transformed to depict Italian beauty ideals, Jen's edited photos were modeled after Japanese beauty, and Freddie's features were changed to show idealized African-American beauty standards. 

But, before they saw the changes, these four women spoke about their own struggles with body image and self-acceptance. 

"I've spent my whole life coming to terms with my own body through an American lens, and I feel pretty decent about it now. So, adding another set of beauty ideals to worry about is, um, I'm trying to think of a word that's better than annoying," Safiya said. 

"Growing up, I put a lot of pressure on myself to fall in line with what was considered beautiful in the Black community. I was really petite, kind of on the thinner side, and anytime someone would call me skinny I would pretty much cry," Freddie admitted. 

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In Safiya's photos, her body was edited so that she would have thinner thighs and arms and a more narrow waist, hips, and shoulders. Her skin was also lightened. 

Kristin's photos were edited so that she would have a thinner waist, thighs, calves, arms, neck, face, and butt. Other alterations included higher breasts and tanner skin. 

For Jen's transformation, her thighs, hips, shoulders, and face were narrowed. Her breasts were reduced, her eyes were widened, and her skin was lightened. 

Freddie's skin was also lightened. Her edited photos featured bigger thighs, butt, and breasts. Her chin was more defined and her stomach was thinner. 

After seeing the Photoshopped images, not a single one of the women would prefer to look like their idealized self. They recognize that just isn't who they are, and they love the skin they're currently in — perceived flaws and all. 

"It makes me really happy because I'm very satisfied with the way I look. I've grown into my beauty, I've grown into accepting the way that I look and I wouldn't want to look any other way," Freddie said.  

"I think after seeing this, I obviously prefer myself," Kristin said. "I realize that I'm full of imperfections and things that people don't like — and things that I don't even like ... "

" ... but I'm greater than the sum of my parts and so knit-picking yourself to make your parts better isn't necessarily going to make you a more beautiful person. It just makes you different."

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