[I wrote this post about two months ago and completely forgot to publish it. But then I spotted this article about Jennifer Lawrence and was inspired to get on it.]
I’ve been visiting Huffington Post fairly regularly for about half a decade, and in that time, I’ve managed to catch onto certain staples in the website’s coverage. By way of limited example: there’s a weird fascination with “sideboob”,* there’s wall-to-wall coverage of Rachel Maddow’s every move, and there’s a substantial compendium of “Photoshop fails.”
*As noted in New York Magazine’s excellent coverage of Columbus’ arrival in America.
In a typical article showcasing such “fails”, Huffington Post highlights magazine covers or advertisements that have quite clearly and egregiously edited their subjects, often to the point of grotesque impossibility. It almost goes without saying that in almost every instance, the offending magazine is a fashion magazine, and the Photoshop victim is female: One lady’s missing an arm. Another gal’s got no leg. Sometimes, it’s less innocuous: someone slimmed the girl down and she ends up looking like an eel. I could go on, or you could just check out the ENTIRE SECTION of Huffington Post dedicated to documenting such incidents.
On top of the schaadenfreude – we simply like to see others fail – the series has an inherent element of absurdity: the models are typically quite attractive, and probably would be whether they had been photoshopped or not.
But if you think this phenomenon is somehow sexist, or the exclusive domain of Vogue or Marie Claire, think again. Because, as it turns out, ESPN: The Magazine can be just as guilty of needlessly photoshopping its subjects. Check out this cover photo of Russell Wilson that appeared during the NFL pre-season:
At first glance, you might think there’s nothing obviously wrong with it. But take another look. Everybody knows that when Russell “the man” Wilson sets up to throw the football (and isn’t in midair to avoid the pass rush), he doesn’t hold an invisible football in front of his body with his left hand. No: he raises the roof:
Never let ESPN convince you otherwise about Russell’s body (image).