by MIKE NICHOLSON
It has been well documented on this site and all across the web about the ridiculous photoshopping practices of advertisers and marketers that create unrealistic and unattainable physical attributes for women. But what about the guys?
Now I don’t want to turn this in to a his and her battle of the sexes, but I feel that my sex has been under represented in this debate. If I haven’t felt insecure about my body on the way to work, then the newsagent vendors haven’t done their job by putting out the latest Men’s Health posters.
The kinds of images perpetuated by these health magazines are often unattainable due to many factors, not least the benefit of a lighting crew and digital wizardry. I am often left wondering how it’s possible for the stomach muscles to protrude in such a way that could only be achieved with the abolition of the Earth’s carbohydrates.
To compound the ensuing insecurity, these unattainable images are usually linked with virility, sexual prowess and masculinity. So how can we as men feel good enough with what we have when this constant stream of photoshopped muscles is telling us and our partners otherwise?
The problem isn’t that these images exist, it’s that they are now considered the norm. Muscle-y dudes aren’t a problem, but photoshopping them to oblivion and dressing them up as a result of “eating right” and “hitting the gym” is reckless. A way around this would be implementing a warning system for photos that have been altered to the point of lunacy. If a label alerted consumers as to the extent of photoshopping in an advertisement, it would make companies think twice about brandishing body images that cannot be achieved.
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Sadly, I think we have come to expect this ugly element with regards to the women’s fashion industry, but for men it is still a reasonably new phenomena that is less scrutinised. Being a media junkie, I constantly see pictures and advertisements that I know have had the once over with a fine tooth Mac comb, yet it is hard to delineate the concept of what these images display with what I have to offer. If this is happening to someone who consumes media daily with a cynical eye, I can only imagine what the everyday male is thinking. I can’t help but think we are doing a disservice to men, old and young, everywhere.