We’re so used to seeing airbrushed images of women’s bodies in magazines, on billboards and on our television screens, that our minds have slowly started to associated ‘perfect’ with ‘normal’.

But the truth is that even ‘perfect’ isn’t ‘perfect. In fact, the images that we are presented with, the ones we’re supposed to aspire to look like, the one’s we are meant to strive to emulate – well they’re not so much perfect as impossible.

Naturally beautiful and already thin women are stretched and cropped and carved and smoothed until their bodies resemble that of a barbie doll and not a real person. But our minds accept it. Because it’s all we see. It’s all we’ve ever seen. And what you see, you believe.

But what would happen if we saw some of the very few images of women that we recognise that HAVEN’T had the photoshop treatment? A serious wake up call, that’s what.

These pictures blew me away. They’re paintings of what used to be imagined as the ultimate ideal of female beauty: Venus. Images we’ve all seen and admired before as great works of art and heavenly in their aesthetic.

Except now Venus has had a perky boob job. She’s carved off her hip bones. She’s been Barbie stretched to appear taller. She’s had her neck slimmed. Her waist narrowed. Her thighs cut in half. Oh, and she’s got a box gap to boot.

Spot the difference. It’s impossible not to.

And next time you open a magazine and look a the impossibly ‘perfect’ body of the model on the page.

Remember how obvious the difference was when your brain wasn’t pre-programmed to accept it.

Venus Anadyomene.

The images you see are part of an art exhibition that showed last year in the Netherlands, created by an artist you calls herself Anna Uptopia. Utopia works with image and communication: she is a creative, writer, poet, performer, actress. You can find out more about her here.

There 's a lot more where this came from, check out the Mamamia Network's new health and beauty website, The Glow.

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