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Monday, April 22, 2013

Men Before and After Photoshop

  Is this a funny anecdote or a sign of the growing pressure placed on men to achieve extreme physiques? 

Every day another article is trending on the detrimental effects media has on women. The media sometimes refered to as "they" is often viewed as a misogynistic racket designed to oppress women. Now this may or may not be true but I feel like a huge part of the conversation is being forgotten. How does the media effect men?

The number one reason any one walks into a Dojo is to get in shape, in most cases these people are men. Some times their fitness goals are realistic and some times they are horribly misinformed  If you flip over to youtube there are a million and one videos on how to get an MMA body fast. Considering most mixed martial artists train at least twice a day it is highly unlikely your average recreational Martial Artist is going to obtain the physique of a Professional Mixed Martial Artist. If they do it wont be easy and they probably aren't going to look like the men on the covers of Black Belt Magazine. At least not with out some decent lighting and skilled digital retouching.

 secret: If you are not a top athlete you are not likely to look like one. 

It is time we start discussing the fact that men just like woman are bombarded by media which reinforces unrealistic expectations on their bodies. This issue has come into public discussion at different times but it is often quickly pushed back into the dark. Like many issues that effect men we are biting our tongues, ending the conversation and allowing potentially detrimental gender stereo types to fester.  

Now to be honest I am not against the use of photoshop. I think it is a brilliant peice of software that allows for artistic exploration. I also don't believe the media is to blame for all of life's problems. That being said their is nothing more important than media-literacy. Every day men, woman, boys and girls are surrounded by millions of images and it is important that we start talking about them.

A picture maybe worth a thousand words but I will tell you right now most of them are lies. Even with out the power of photoshop the human body can be re-sculpted through lighting and advantageous angles. There is a reason why fighters walk into darkly lit rings with top down lighting and it is not just to hide the illegal gabling going on in the stands.

So with out further ado here is a handful of images of men that have been augmented through the use of professional photography and digital manipulation.  I will admit I had a hard time finding as many as I would have liked but I assure you that is not because they dont exist but rather because they are not being talked about.

Now I know some of these images are a little extreme and by no means am I saying it wont take a little a lot of hard-work to land your self on the cover of your favourite fitness magazine  but I am saying next time you are getting all worked-up over your third abdominal on the left not lining up so perfectly take a deep breath and ask your self if that is what's really important to you

Finally I hope these images have started to raise a few questions. I am not looking to demonize the media, distract from conversations about how women interact with the media or to give men who are living unhealthy neglectful lives a free ride. I am simply looking to encourage conversations about what we see in the media and how it effects our perceptions of the world around us. I am also hoping to raise some awareness around the growing but often neglected conversation on mens psychological health.

So what do you think?

Is it a problem for men to be compared to movie stars like Hugh Jackmen, or to be comparing them selves to Mr. Olympia? Does the media effect men and women differently and do you have any other great pictures of men before and after photoshop?

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