How to be a good person Part 4:
Does body enhancement in advertising just happen to women?

Rosamund Pike 'spoke out' by saying her breasts were 'augmented' on the Johnny English Reborn posters

Her comments made headline news, which may be expected from speaking on a trendy topic such as body image in 2021. But as much as it will be framed a feminist issue, is this accurate? Does Hollywood place a bigger expectation on women than men?

Talking this week on Kelly Clarkson’s podcast, she said “In the poster for the character shot, I’ve got a very impressive chest. Which I don’t have.” She went on to end with “But there’s probably countless times where our image is doctored and we don’t notice it. Because I think we’re all losing our grip on what we really look like.”

I assume in the 10 years since the film she felt so physically disgusted at herself looking so sexy on billboards that she wasn’t strong enough to speak out. Maybe she developed conjunctivitis on the day the posters were approved so she did not notice she’d been upgraded from an AA chest to huge double G beach balls that make Oprah Winfrey look like Paula Radcliffe. I also assume she will be deleting all of the heavily edited magazine shoots on her instagram page now her enlightenment has happened. She’s been paid for them now anyway.

I understand her comments gained the publicity it did because it was assumed to be a problem disproportionately affecting women in the #metoo era. Corners of society, who mainly reside on social media, believe that doctored images on billboards and advertising campaigns is yet another archaic tactic by the ‘patriarchy’ which aims to keep women feeling bad about themselves. But is this true? Are film posters with women doctored more? 

Is ‘body augmentation’ a bigger problem for women?

Firstly, as much as we hate to admit it, sexy people are nice to look at. This is a hypothesis that has had 300,000 years of testing throughout modern human evolution and the results are overwhelming. The very fact you are here today, reading my blog is because hundreds of thousands of years of mating between people who found each other sexy. I do not think it overwhelmingly applies to one sex over the other. I have not done extensive research into the topic, but you only need to look at any film poster to see the effects of airbrushing on both men and women. 

Take the posters for Wolverine for example. I highly doubt his arms have 3 centimetre wide veins popping out of them in real life. In fact, much more editing would have been done to take his body fat percentage down 5% compared to adding metal spikes to his hands. Maybe Hugh Jackman will appear on the Joe Rogan podcast to explain how he does not have retractable metal spikes in his hands in real life but the devious people who made the Wolverine posters augmented his body to sell films. Bastards. How dare they. 

I’m sure some spotty teenage boys walk past wolverine and are more upset that they don’t have knives protruding from their knuckles than they are about not having his abs. But no one suggests his adamantine claws are giving nerdy boys and men unrealistic body expectations. So where is the lobby group representing this oppressed minority?! Unfortunately on this topic everyone is unanimous in agreeing he is a fictional character and his ‘ridiculous’ metal knives are designed to give us light relief.

Are film posters to be taken seriously? 

I think Rosamund is very attractive so rushing to further enhance an already sacred being is a baffling to me. I look at some adverts and I think ‘christ that guy has biceps bigger than my head, but it is more inspirational than anything else. However, the issue here is that I don’t come out of watching Shrek believing that pink dragons exist and can have successful sexual relations with a donkey that talks suspiciously like Eddie Murphy. For this reason I don’t take everything I see on a movie advert billboard as gospel! I understand that, even though he is in great shape, the biceps on Zac Efron may have been also enhanced by clever magic because that’s what movies are about. They often transport you to an imaginary place. It is an escape. 

This applies particularly to Johnny English which is a comedy. A comedy! To make us laugh! Remember how? No I didn’t think so. If you really want to get serious about it, why is a bumbling idiot who injects himself with muscle relaxant in the line of duty allowed anywhere near MI5? 

In fact, why don’t we add more ‘realism’ to films. We can start by taking out all CGI graphics. All of it. In the Harry Potter scene where he is being chased on a broomstick through Hogwarts, just let the audience see Daniel Radcliffe straddling a dented pommell horse while a giant fan blows air into his face in front of a large square of green fabric. That way no 10 year old budding wizard will have unrealistic expectations of being able to fly. This will save many children the traumatic experience of developing an imagination.

Body image issues do exist. And they can be horrible. But we need to ask ourselves why some people are in such a low state that they may be so intensely worried about their body in the first place? What is it in our society that makes people feel so sad that they can find no magic in the world? Because it isn’t film posters, I can tell you now.

When I am down, the last thing I want is more seriousness and tension. We are constantly being told that when you feel crap the blame lies with the awful society we live in. The solution is to get more serious and more tense, apparently. On the most part, the opposite is needed, so maybe the odd dose of laughing at enhanced breasts and Johnny English would do us the world of good. It could even inspire us to dream. God forbid.

What do you think? 

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