In the wake of the release of the highly-anticipated Wonder Woman reboot starring Gal Gadot, Recovery.org decided to tackle the concept of superheroes head-on by showing what they would look like if they had more “realistic” bodies, Huffington Post reports.
The body-positive series, created by an organization that provides resources for those struggling with mental illness, addiction, and self-harm, used a technique it dubbed “reverse photoshopping” to show what superheroes would look like if “their bodies matched the body of the average viewer” in the United States. The organization took illustrations of ten popular characters, both male and female, and “edited” the heroes’s bodies to look “average”: For the male characters, that meant less muscle definition and more fat; and for the female characters, it meant reducing breast size, widening the waist and hips, and replacing the sharp, defined angles with softer curves. Each edited illustration was then displayed alongside the original, to show how over-the-top and unrealistic superhero bodies typically are, and not just in the comic books. According to Health.com, Gal Gadot had to train six hours per day for six months for her role as Wonder Woman — a regimen she admitted was “more intensive” than the training she did while in the Israeli Defense Forces. Seriously.
A spokesperson for Recovery.org told the Huffington Post that the “reverse photoshopping” project was driven, in part, by the recent surge in popularity of superhero films — the title characters of which are often role models for younger children. The spokesperson explained,
“With new releases every summer, we can see how these films positively affect their younger audiences. But, it’s hard to have such positive takeaways when the bodies represented on film don’t mirror what a typical body looks like. This especially rings true for a younger audience considering research has found that some children are struggling with body image by the time they reach kindergarten. We conducted this project to see how our favorite heroes might change if their bodies were a bit more realistic, and hopefully, more relatable.”
Even better? Depicting the superheroes with “average” proportions can show children that they don’t have to be The Hulk to be a hero themselves: Their bodies are perfect just the way they are.
Check out the full series, below.
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