We usually cringe at the sight of ourselves in our old school photos – and with good reason.

Your child, too, can look like a plastic doll/Ryn Gargulinski

Your child, too, can look like a plastic doll/Ryn Gargulinski

We are often clad in something polyester and sporting a missing front tooth or 10-foot cowlick.

We don’t have to worry any longer, as the age of perfection now has invaded all aspects of our lives.

In this society so obsessed with image, we now have handfuls of photo retouching studios. Never mind gently blending a shadow or hiding a pimple. Some specialize in total photo makeovers for school kids – or even younger.

Could you please blot the spot of peas from my baby’s face? Maybe get rid of some of that baby fat.

We can also change the kids’ hairstyles, clothing and facial expressions if their photos don’t look good enough to hang on the mantle. Maybe add some hair, glamorous eyebrows and slight dash of pink to gloss up the infant’s lips. The kids can end up looking like a plastic doll.

One service, Angel Pics, specializes in retouching photos of stillborn babies to remove all the bruises and tubes.

Photo retouching is nothing new. Celebrities have been getting slimmed down, filled out and brushed up on covers of high fashion magazines ever since the French invented high fashion.

But extending it to kids is just asking for trouble. Enough youngsters struggle with terrible self-images and low-self esteem. Touching up their photos only enhances the message that yes, child, you are no good unless you look absolutely perfect.

This lack of confidence in natural beauty, of course, will spill over into adulthood. But society also has a cure for that.

We can have our butts tucked, our faces lifted, our lips plumped and our stomach fat pumped to ensure we look as close to that faux ideal of perfect as possible. Don’t forget to inflate the chest area so we resemble flotation devices.

Heidi Montag, an actress on MTV’s The Hills, is getting her 15 minutes of fame – but not because of her acting. It’s because of her obsession with plastic surgery.

At age 23 she’s already undergone two bouts under the knife, with the latest one including 10 different operations.

At age 23. We hate to think what’s going to happen when she’s 33, or 43 or 53 – or even 25.

We’ve seen plastic surgery gone berserk, as in the infamous case of Jocelyn Wildenstein. She reportedly spent $4 million to go from a naturally good-looking woman to being dubbed “The Bride of Wildenstein.”

She caught her husband with a younger woman and the surgery began as a ploy to win him back. He left her anyway.

Please note that looking “perfect” does not mean you’re guaranteed a perfect life.

Korean woman Hang Mioku became hooked on plastic surgery at the age of 28. By the time she was 48, surgeons refused to touch her face, which had become swollen and disfigured from countless operations.

She found one doctor who agreed to silicone injections, even giving her a syringe and silicone for her own use at home. But then she ran out of silicone.

So she decided to inject her face with cooking oil.

So smile, kiddies, for the camera – you should be delighted by what could be in store.

[tnipoll]

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Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who has only retouched photos to adjust the exposure or add antlers to her rats for a Christmas card. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.

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