Looking to “spice” up their marriage, a Texan woman hired a boudoir photographer to gift her husband of more than 20 years pictures of herself looking sexy and flawless. She requested every wrinkle, every stretch mark, every imperfection removed.
So, he was disheartened when he received the Christmas present of his airbrushed wife. He reached out to the photographer, commending her talent, but expressing disappointment that the woman in the photos did not look like his wife.
“You made every one of her “flaws” disappear…and while I’m sure this is exactly what she asked you to do, it took away everything that makes up our life,” he wrote. “When you took away her stretch marks, you took away the documentation of my children. When you took away her wrinkles, you took away over two decades of our laughter, and our worries. When you took away her cellulite, you took away her love of baking and all the goodies we have eaten over the years.”
Victoria Halton of Victoria Caroline Photography in San Antonio, Texas, took the criticism hard. It was just after she’d started in the business and she felt tremendous guilt. This week, she posted his letter on Facebook with a note of her own: “I encourage you to think twice about how much ‘altering’ we do. Our loved ones cherish and adore us just as we are.”
I am (blank)’s husband, ********. I am writing to you because I recently received an album containing images you took of my wife. I don’t want you to think that I am in any way upset with you….but I have some food for thought that I would like to pass on to you. I have been with my wife since we were 18 years old, and we have two beautiful children together. We have had many ups and downs over the years, and I think…well, actually I KNOW that my wife did these pictures for me to “spice things up”. She sometimes complains that I must not find her attractive, that she wouldn’t blame me if I ever found someone younger. When I opened the album that she gave to me, my heart sank. These pictures…while they are beautiful and you are clearly a very talented photographer….they are not my wife. You made every one of her “flaws” disappear…and while I’m sure this is exactly what she asked you to do, it took away everything that makes up our life. When you took away her stretch marks, you took away the documentation of my children. When you took away her wrinkles, you took away over two decades of our laughter, and our worries. When you took away her cellulite, you took away her love of baking and all the goodies we have eaten over the years. I am not telling you all of this to make you feel horrible, you’re just doing your job and I get that. I am actually writing you to thank you. Seeing these images made me realize that I honestly do not tell my wife enough how much I LOVE her and adore her just as she is. She hears it so seldom, that she actually thought these photoshopped images are what I wanted and needed her to look like. I have to do better, and for the rest of my days I am going to celebrate her in all her imperfectness. Thanks for the reminder.Regards,
Halton does not say how long ago this note was sent, and does not disclose the identity of the couple. But she told the San Antonio Express that she got their permission to post the letter. She said she hoped it would encourage other women to be less self conscious and embrace their bodies. She did not return our call for comment.
The man wrote that the photos made his heart sink because he realized his wife thought she needed to alter her appearance to be beautiful for him. He closed his note to Halton taking responsibility for not telling his wife often enough how beautiful she was. “I have to do better, and for the rest of my days I am going to celebrate her in all her imperfectness,” he wrote.
Most women struggle with insecurity about their bodies. Dr. Carolyn Ross, who specializes in eating disorders, wrote in 2012 on Psych Central that “80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance.”
“What most people still don’t realize is that the majority of the pictures they see in magazines are altered in some way and that looking like their role models is physically impossible,” she wrote. “It is a setup for self-hatred.”
Halton’s Facebook post resonated with men and women online, and was shared widely. Many commenters expressed their own insecurities, and others their gratitude for the people in their lives who make them feel beautiful.
It’s difficult to overcome negative body images when Western culture puts such a premium on being thin. Women are chastised for eating carbs or opting for dessert.
We can all use positive reinforcement about our looks. So, here’s a healthy tip from actress Kate Winslet, who has spoken openly about her struggles with body image.
Winslet, during an appearance on “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” in July said that she stands her teenage daughter in front of the mirror and says:
“We are so lucky we have a shape. We’re so lucky we’re curvy. We’re so lucky that we’ve got good bums.’ And she’ll say, ‘Mummy, I know, thank God’.”
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