….And now I have your attention, here is what I have to say about Gerard Butler’s body, specifically. But there is a preamble. So please bear with me, ladies.
During my Body Gossip self-esteem classes I show this video, by Dove:
In my opinion, it’s the best video on the topic of airbrushing out there (and there are many). The reason I like it is that it shows those alterations made at the digital enhancement stage that you wouldn’t necessarily think of. Most people’s understanding of airbrushing is that wrinkles, blemishes and spots are removed, or that they might make the subject slightly thinner. Never in our wildest dreams are we envisioning that necks are lengthened and slimmed, eyes are made larger etc. This video not only demonstrates the type of airbrushing we simply aren’t on the alert for, but also the dramatic effect it has on the appearance of the subject.
But – and this is a big but (excuse the pun) – Gossip School proudly works with students of both genders and I have yet to find an equivocal video for men. We all KNOW the front covers of men’s magazines have had just as much done to them in post-production as their female counterparts but, so far, no one’s thought to make a video about it.
So, imagine my delight when a friend told me that Gerard Butler had spoken out on a chat show about how his famous six pack in the film 300 had, effectively, been painted on. ‘Fantastic’ I though ‘I’ll find the clip to show my male students’.
Off to Google I went and typed “Gerard Butler talks about airbrushing in 300’. Quite a specific search, one would have thought. So, imagine my shock and dismay when I trawled through endless pages to discover that this clip does not appear to be available anywhere on the internet.
Yet more worrying was the content of the pages I had to trawl through. Endless “get abs like Gerard Butler using our protein shakes/diet pills/supplements/exercise regime!” headlines screamed out at me. Articles, promising young men they can achieve a body like Gerard’s if only they follow a very specific set of instruction and, more crucially, part with their hard-earned cash.
…A body which, by Gerard’s own admission, does not exist in reality.
Clearly, aspiring to Gerard’s physical form in a film which relied very heavily on special effects is big business. How many men are aware that Gerard didn’t look like that when he arrived on set? And the bigger question is perhaps why the need was felt to digitally ‘enhance’ him in the first place.
Gerard, I am certain, has a drool-worthy physical form without having extra abs added in post production. Why couldn’t we have seen him in all his natural glory and given young men a (slightly) more realistic body ideal (if the facilities to which most Hollywood stars have access can be termed in any way realistic).
I have become concerned during my time teaching ‘Gossip School’ about the number of young men and teenage boys exercising for purely aesthetic reasons. Where is the fun in slogging away on a treadmill when school is the only time when you get to play competitive sport entirely for free? Powdered protein shakes, pills and steroids are also being sold to these minors illegally, over the internet.
Perhaps it’s time for male celebrities to take Gerard’s lead and be honest and candid about the origins of their muscular physiques.