After nearly a century of advertising, strict model standards, and media portrayal, it is understandable if some women feel pressured to conform to a certain ideal of beauty that is nearly unobtainable for all but the smallest sliver of the population. However, just because a woman does meet a prescribed standard of beauty does not mean she is not beautiful.
Natural beauty – Photos without Photoshop
That is the message the creators of the RAW Beauty Talks hope to spread and empower women to feel comfortable and beautiful who they are without the need for layers of makeup, unhealthy nutritional diets, or plastic surgery. A nonprofit that focuses on what women can offer beyond their appearance, one of RAW’s most headline-catching advocacies involves the belief that women, whether professional models or not, do not need Photoshop to be beautiful.
This may seem obvious or absurd, but women have been beautiful throughout history, while Photoshop has only been around for a decade or so. Still, the pervasive nature of the implicit messages sent through magazines, television, and advertisements can create a feeling of insecurity or inadequacy in women—especially younger or developing women.
The RAW Beauty Talk founded by Erin Treloar
RAW Beauty Talks was founded by Erin Treloar, a twenty-eight-year-old Pilates studio co-owner from Vancouver. While she inherently saw the need for such an organization, the spark that actually set flame to the idea was her own struggle with anorexia. Feeling the pressure to fit a specific standard of beauty, Treloar eventually weighed only eighty-nine pounds at 5’11”. Her internal organs had begun to shut down from malnutrition, while her family worried for her very life. It was at that point, Treloar knew she needed to make a change. However, once she came through her eating disorder and regained her health, she realized that there were millions of other women and girls out there struggling with the same issues of body dysmorphia or low self-esteem. Moreover, modern technology allowed women to struggle with their body image by providing tools that allowed a quick, easy alteration to their images—if not their selves.
From this, Treloar recognized a need not only to educate women on the dangers of trying to reach a potentially dangerous or unobtainable standard but also of the self-abuse they direct inwards when they are unable to do so. However, when she looked for an appropriate ideal of beauty to substitute for the artifice of modern body image, she realized that the most beautiful women she had met were the ones unafraid to be natural, exposed, raw.
A RAW Photoshooting: no make up, no branded shirts, no photoshop
Today, RAW Beauty Talks utilizes a specific conceit to express its message on film. This process goes above and beyond what even many similar No-Photoshop campaigns use. Aside from not using Photoshop to alter or touch up the images, the women pictured in RAW Beauty Talks also wear no makeup. And while many other campaigns may depict the women alone, RAW makes it a point that the women photographed wear either a white or black t-shirt without brands.
All of this goes to highlight that not only do women not need to be photoshopped to be beautiful, they do not need any adornment at all. Women do not have to do anything to be beautiful. They already are. However, the women of RAW Beauty Talks do not simply take photos to spread their message. As the organization’s name implies, once they have finished the photoshoot, they then discuss the value of self-love, their personal relationships with food, and the very concept of beauty itself in hopes of building a community that can not only help others suffering from the same problems but raise the next generation of women to be healthy and confident.