Is Brad Pitt ruining your love life?

Pitt and ClooneyLast night I saw Ocean’s Thirteen. It was an eye-candy feast, with George Clooney and Brad Pitt 25-feet high. Yum!

We know how effective media is in shaping our perspective, even our values, including our self-image. We know that being bombarded with images of beautiful men and women molds our vision of attractiveness. As we mature, we know it is fantasy and that even Hollywood beauties don’t look that stunning without professional hair, make up, wardrobe and lighting.

By now, you’ve probably seen this Dove video called “Evolution.” It shows how this attractive woman morphs into a fabulous knockout through professional hair, makeup, lighting, and yes, even Photoshop.

How do these unrealistic images affect your dating?

  1. They can influence your expectation of a man’s looks. Very few men, let alone midlife men, look anything close to the 46-year-old Clooney or the 43-year-old Pitt. So while we realize these men personify an unattainable ideal, some small part of many women want — and perhaps expect — their guy to look as yummy.
  2. The Photoshopped images of pencil-thin specimens on magazine covers and in movies exacerbates women’s feelings of inadequacy. In Ocean’s Thirteen, Ellen Barkin portrays a model-thin woman prancing in low-cut, tight dresses with 3.5 inch heels. How many real-life 53-year-old women do you see looking like that? Just as women have unrealistic expectations of a man’s looks, so, too, men have an idealized expectation that women look like these air-brushed fantasy females.

So it is a lose-lose for both genders.

We think (hope?) that as one matures, people realize that these movie-star looks are really just fantasy. But unfortunately, I’ve found both men and women who hold themselves and their potential dates to standards that nearly no one meets in real life.

How do you feel the media’s images of near-perfect people affects your expectations, both of your own looks and those of your potential partner?

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7 responses to “Is Brad Pitt ruining your love life?”

  1. walt Avatar

    Good post. If you read online personals, you often see a list of desired qualities, such as “honest, upbeat, great sense of humor”, etc., followed by something like “and there needs to be great chemistry.” Translation: “I want a great person, but you gotta look good!’ In fact, a lot of people post online personals because they’re looking for “someone great”, which includes great looking. However, if we actually managed to date someone with movie-star looks, we’d probably be miserable wating for him/her to break up with us as soon as he/she finds someone “better.” I think that none of us are free from Hollywood-induced shallowness, we just need to be aware of it, and talk to ourselves enough to figure out how to be happy with someone with average-good looks who happens to have great personal qualities.

  2. Gatti Avatar

    I think Dove is doing a fantastic service to women and attitudes towards how women are perceived (by themselves and others). Good on ’em!

    One thing I like to do is people-watch couples who seem to be really connecting. Or at least holding hands. They are not model perfect, by any means, but obviously find each other attractive. It’s very reassuring.

    I don’t consider myself a perfect specimen, but my sweetie finds me beautiful. And I him.

    I’ve heard about people from friends who are also far from picture-perfect but who expect their potential dates to be Brad Pitts. And you wouldn’t believe how many men say in their dating profiles that they basically want a Kylie-clone. I bet Kylie doesn’t even look like Kylie half the time!

  3. datexpectations Avatar

    Dove are genius marketeers. They have run some wonderful down to earth campaigns on the London Underground showing that beauty doesn’t have to conform to magazine stereotype. If other companies were to follow the same tack I’m sure it would reduce the occurence of dismorphic disorders amongst young girls and even young men.

    There was an article out only recently which identified worrying increases in the use of steroids amongst young men. And for what – to try and achieve some photoshopped version of perfectness on a magazine cover.

  4. LA Avatar

    I hate to burst your bubble but I am 49 year old women who “prances around in tight dresses and 3.5 heels”. I am gorgeous. I don’t understand why “older” women have to look like frumps. I know many “older” men who are in great physical shape. Why do people think the norm for older people is adipose?

  5. Dating Goddess Avatar


    Good for you! I’m glad you’re gorgeous and a prancer.

    However, I’d guess that many of us aren’t comfortable or don’t look good in skin-tight clothes. Even with Ellen Barkin’s fabulous figure, I couldn’t help wondering if there would have been a classier way to show her buffness. But then, that was part of her character. I realize there is almost a decade difference in this example, but I think Vanessa Williams’ character in Ugly Betty always looks fabulous, showing a very classy 44-year-old who is also sexy.

  6. Callebaut Avatar

    Yes, both Brad Pitt and Ellen Barkin are fantasy but Ellen is a bit closer to reality. If you run a search on in the city I live in to 40s, the women look great. The men, well, mostly scarey. Granted, many of the women have had professional photographs but even taking that into account, the difference is significant.

  7. Lady Salacity Avatar

    I totally agree with Callebaut. I am on and the men are hideous… and they are the ones with the warped expectations. The women look great even the ones without professional photos. My late 30’s and 40 something female friends also look great and take care of themselves. No photoshop, no surgery just good grooming, excersise and no smoking.