If you’ve ever felt like you couldn’t compete with super models, read this:

I was all set to post a blog about fashion and the average author (some of you may think that’s an oxymoron) but last night I was at a talk that just blew me away, so I have to blog about that instead.

It was a self esteem workshop for the young girls at my church, and I must admit I only went because mothers were invited and I didn’t want my daughter to be the only one whose mother didn’t show.

I am so glad I went.

The statistics they told us were staggering. Did you know that only 2% of women worldwide feel beautiful? By the time girls hit 12 years old 57% of them hate their bodies. One in four 12 year old girls think they are fat.

I can’t remember all of the statistics because there were too many, but each one basically told the same story: Society relentlessly tells women that we are not good enough the way we are. We are subjected to an average of 3,000 adds a day. We will spend an average of three years (Three years!!) of our lives watching commercials, and all of us know what we see in those adds. We see perfect faces and bodies. The models not only don’t have flaws, they don’t have pores.

None of us can measure up to that. How can we help but feel bad about ourselves?

Oh here’s another scary fact. The average model 30 years ago was 5’8 and 132 pounds. Now the average model is 5’10 and 110 pounds. Hello, that’s concentration camp skinny. Should that really be the standard we weigh ourselves against?

Why do advertisers do it?

The theory they told us last night is that advertisers want us to feel bad about ourselves so that they can sell us the fix. If only we’d use their clothes, make up, hair products–whatever, then we’d be as beautiful as the models.

But here is the horrible secret: Even the models themselves aren’t as pretty as their pictures. (You can tell how worked up I am about all of this because of all the italics I’m putting in here.) The average cover of a beauty magazine costs 60,000 dollars to digitally fix and enhance. The pictures inside run about 5,000 each.

Watch this video from Dove, and see how the advertisers/magazines do it. Really. Watch it. You’ll never look at those photos in the same way again.

PS–I’ve just realized I can stop trying to be beautiful all together. I just need a good photoshop program.