the-exercistNoneplease view this
Is there something in particular that you’d like me to comment on? Considering that a good portion of the gallery only contains one photo, are two different people, or were taken on the same day with different poses, this source isn’t being serious about the “Before and After” thing. It’s just click bait that gives people an excuse to stare at women’s asses.
Yes. The fact that optical illusions are being used for fitspo. Thanks.
You ever notice how these sort of Before & After/Squats & No-Squats montages don’t exist for men? How men aren’t encouraged to post selfies of their asses in cut-off shorts and tight underwear? How there’s no male equivalent of Jen Selter on Instagram?
It’s because this stuff isn’t actually about fitness. It’s not about the way that exercise affects your body, or how your health can improve through weight lifting. Instead, it’s about using the same tired ol’ soft porn techniques and then advertising them in a more socially acceptable manner. It’s not okay to look at porn while you’re at work, but you can label those exact same pictures as “Motivation” or “Fitspo” and suddenly the context is rewritten - You’re not exploiting these women, you’re admiring them! They’re not posing for your gratification, they’re challenging you to improve yourself!
That’s why so many of these Before & After photos are false - Websites are using the Before-After rhetoric as a way of bringing in a larger audience. The point there is for the women to appeal to you aesthetically, not for them to actually display improved health. The model’s fitness level is irrelevant. (Based only on someone’s appearance, you don’t actually know if they’re healthier, stronger, have better endurance, or happier with their body. All you know is what they look like.) One single photo isn’t enough information to convey their state of fitness, no matter how many muscles you can see.
So many of these photos use trick lighting, posing techniques, accessorizing, stereotypes (such as fat = unhappy and fit = pretty), and hair/make-up changes to make the body in one photo appear healthier and more in-shape than the other. These techniques are really easily mimicked on an amateur level (even by people who don’t realize they’re doing it), and they can be used to a truly incredible level once professional photographers and image editors join the party. Photoshop is one way to make your After photo look good, but not all tricks are that blatant.
This stuff is still catering to the male gaze, all while using the language of female strength and empowerment to justify it. And what’s worse, it feeds into the idea that women need to engage in a very specific lifestyle and aesthetic in order to their bodies to have value. It teaches us that if you don’t squat, you’re ugly and no one will find you sexy. But then, if you squat and don’t manage to achieve the magical results that these pictures women supposedly did? Well then, you’re a failure and you did something wrong, even if you can now squat 100lb more than before. This is a lose-lose situation.
So always make sure that you look at “inspirational” photos like this critically. Don’t take them at face value. If you think that one of those women is pretty and sexy? Hooray, good for her! (And for you!) It’s more than okay to be attracted to someone or to want a body like her’s. But recognize that there is never any one action that is responsible for such a big change. Squats are not a magical exercise that make or break a woman’s shape, nor is a woman who squats going to be inherently “better” or sexier than someone who doesn’t.
As a culture, we’re now starting to learn that magazines and advertisements can lie to us through the use of photoshop and professional styling. Now it’s time for us to accept that even amateur photography can do the same.