Photographer shows what older male celebrities would look like if they were edited like women
It looks ridiculous. And that's the point.
Caroline Ross is a professional photographer who specializes in fashion and editorial photography—you know, the kind of fancy images that grace magazine covers and billboards and the like. So it’s safe to assume she knows her way around Photoshop.
Over on her TikTok channel, Ross helps others gain social media literacy by showing exactly how Photoshop is used to create the highly stylized images we’re so used to seeing in advertisements…so much that we might forget it’s not real.
Recently, Ross also highlighted the double standards that exist when it comes to older female celebrities versus their male counterparts by applying the same amount of Photoshop to cover shoots of actors in their fifties that would be used on actresses of the same age.
When you see the side-by-side comparison—and how ridiculous it looks—it’s hard to deny how hardwired our brains are to accept, even admire aging in men, and at the same time expect women to remain untouched by time…lest they become an unsavory hag, that is.
In the video, Ross shows Pedro Pascal, David Beckham, Idris Elba, Ben Affleck, Gerard Butler, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds (all ruggedly handsome in their own way) suddenly have every wrinkle completely smoothed out.
@caroline_in_thecity I definitely think about this everytime i see a cute little wrinkles on ‘silver foxes’ and smoothed doll skin on women the same age. #pedropascal #maybeitsphotoshop #photoshop ♬ Makeba - Jain
Crazy, right? These guys look like completely different people once “yassified”—well, except for the immortal Paul Rudd, maybe. But the point is: seeing the stark difference laid out like that is illuminating. Several folks chimed in to comment on how it perfectly pinpoints how beauty standards have failed us.
“Yes!!! 🙌 ‘Men age better’ just equals- ‘we’re used to seeing men age’ It’s almost like representation matters 🤔,” one person wrote.
“I think we all knew this but SEEING IT is something else. Thank you for creating this,” wrote another.
Yet another added: “I've just realized why I'm convinced my husband is getting more attractive with age while I go downhill. I've been conditioned!,” another said.
You might have noticed the biggest Photoshop transformation can be seen on the forehead. In another video, Ross explained how women are rarely allowed to have visible expression in this area. It’s covered up with editing, Botox or (most likely) both.
@caroline_in_thecity Thisbisnoiterally the reason I get forehead botox. I always notice womens amooth foreheads in media. #maybeitsphotoshop #photoshop #bopo #40plus #greenscreen ♬ original sound - Caroline In The City
Meanwhile, men are often “intentionally asked to raise their forehead and create these expression lines in their face,” Ross says while showing an editorial spread of Ben Affleck sporting his signature “adorable puppy” eyebrow furrow.
“Like when would you ever see a 50-year-old female celebrity with this expression on their face?” Ross asks. The answer, one we all know deep down inside, is almost never. This is because, as Ross eloquently puts it, men are allowed to “look like mature adult beings” while women are “expected to be these smooth dolls their entire lives.”
Yes, it’s frustrating that despite all the progress we have made with beauty standards, ageism and sexism, those modern views aren’t always reflected in Hollywood or in social media…two major influences for how people, especially young people, perceive the world. But that’s why efforts like Ross’ make such a huge difference. We are able to see firsthand how we are trained to think. Which, in turn, helps us to think differently. Or, at the very least, not succumb to low self esteem just because we don’t resemble works of fiction.Care to see more of Ross’s videos? Follow her on TikTok.