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Why Are These Idealized Photoshop Experiments Always Focused on Women?

By Cindy Davis | Miscellaneous | August 17, 2015 |

By Cindy Davis | Miscellaneous | August 17, 2015 |

Ridiculous question, I know, but I had to ask. Rather, I’d like to repeatedly emphasize that we as people simply cannot seem to stop pushing the notion of a “perfect” female form upon women, even in our studies — purportedly created to further understanding. Is it interesting to look at and compare different countries’ perceptions of beauty? Certainly. Are some of these experiments intended to highlight that there is no one perfect standard, or that some ideals may even be unhealthy? Sure. But, couldn’t we perhaps start throwing up some photoshopped pictures of dudes in their skivvies to stand alongside the ladies? Instead of constantly focusing on the female form, perpetuating the impression that it is only we who must/should/need be concerned with how we’re perceived, equalize these studies. For instance, It’d be just as (if not more) interesting to see this Perceptions of Perfection Across Borders challenge include the male form. UK Health and Drug retailer, Superdrug created this experiment to explore beauty ideals around the world by providing female graphic designers from 18 countries this photo,


and asking them to edit the photo to make her “more attractive” to the people of their country. As you might expect, the biggest changes involve weight appearance (slimmer or curvier); Superdrug noted that the changes made by some Asian and European countries indicated an unhealthy BMI, while those made by designers in North, South, and Central American countries tended more toward hourglass figures. Viewing the photos in total is indeed interesting (and possibly horrifying),


but what might this study look like if say, someone like me (not a graphic designer), were to manipulate this photo of a regular guy in his undies, to make him more attractive to the people of my country?


I’d probably do this:


Or, if I got this photo:


I’d manipulate it into this:


But as you know, that’s really only (one of) my ideal beauty — so it doesn’t mean much of anything.

All of this to say, can we please stop creating these one-sided studies that really only serve to further the idea that any one ideal exists in society, on a continent, in a country, city, town, street, or anything other than our own imagination?

We are all fucking beautiful.

(photos of regular dudes via boredpanda)

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)