Of Adobe and Eating Disorders
So Jesse Rosten made this amazing video. Watch it.
It’s brilliant but there’s something missing: men. We get Photoshopped too, why isn’t that an issue.
After the break I fix the missing men problem and go on a little rant.
With very little effort I found a couple ‘shopped ads to add to the little campaign started above by Jesse. I think it helps balance things out a little. Also I used an umlaut instead of an acute accent. Umlauts are way more manly.
In preparation for ranting I decided that I should go and do a bit of reading so I could speak with authority on why this kind of thing is just as big a problem for men as it is for women. That was a terrible Idea because I found out that it isn’t.
Some quick and hard to argue with stats:
- There are 10 times as many weight loss ads for women as for men in popular magazines.
- Girls are three times as likely to have a diagnosable eating disorder related illness than their male counterparts.
- Females were ten times as likely to have been hospitalized for an eating disorder than males.
- From checking out some magazines myself, there are at least twice as many ads featuring women as there are men, even in men’s magazines.
So that’s a little bit hard to rant against. Facts ruin the best arguments. However, just because the misrepresentation of the idealized body isn’t as big a problem for men as it is for women, it is still a problem. Men have to cope with these images of impractically chiseled features and flawless skin and they leave their mark.
It is hard to meet a man that doesn’t think he should spend more time at the gym. However, unlike compulsive dieting, that’s not really viewed as a bad thing. The result would appear to be healthier guys, no? Well, no. The motivation for that exercise isn’t often better health and longer life, at least not amongst young men. The impulse to exercise is the feeling that their bodies don’t measure up. We are driven to the gym out of a desire to be pretty rather than to be healthy. The ‘pretty’ that we’re trying to achieve is the zero percent body fat, dehydrated and Photoshopped body-building model from the CK ads. Most of us don’t have the genetics to be that man, but we think that all it takes to become him is exercise because that’s what Chuck Norris tells us late at night. If we don’t look like them, it’s because we have failed.
Do you know a man that spends so much time at the gym that they’ve lost touch with reality? Do you know any guys that are ashamed to be seen in a swimsuit? Do you know any boys that feels shitty about the fact that they don’t waste hours lifting heavy things? They are the victims of mass media. They’re trying to bench-press away their body-image issues. There is even a psychological disorder for the compulsive need to build muscle called ‘muscle dysmorphia’. It’s thought to be as prevalent as anorexia, but much harder to diagnose because it doesn’t normally result in malnourishment; it results in being abnormally muscular.
So in conclusion, women have it worse than men. However, the boys aren’t alright either. When raging against the advertising industry and their portrayal of women, don’t forget about us. Statistically speaking, spend about ten percent of your rage on our behalf.