Confession time: I'm a huge pro wrestling fan, and one of the things I appreciate about that form of entertainment so much is that the performers are in tip top shape. It's like their bodies were sculpted that way, rather than earned through an incredibly strict diet and constant exercise.
So what if you could sculpt your own body to make it look like your favorite wrestler, athlete or action movie star? Well, now you can, and you don't even have to go to the gym.
There's an app out right now called Manly. For $4.99 per month, a subscription for this app allows you to "get your dream body." You can add muscles from abs to biceps to your selfie, along with facial hair and tattoos. You can change your skin tone and your hair style.
At the time this is being written, it's receiving a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 in the Apple App Store.
Manly's Twitter page contains images of both men and women, mostly in revealing workout clothing, encouraging followers to work hard to achieve the body they want.
But critics of the app say it's sending the wrong message.
“Apps like Manly play into the damaging narrative that to be considered an attractive man, you need to look a certain way, making it extremely toxic for impressionable young men," said Be Real Campaign co-founder Denise Hatton in an interview with The Independent.
A column in the British tabloid Metro, echoed those sentiments.
"As society becomes ever-more obsessed with fitness, more and more men are falling victim to muscle dysmorphia – a condition which sees people believing that they’re never muscly enough," said writer Miranda Larbi.
"That, in turn, can lead to excessive exercise (which can result in hernias, exhaustion, muscle damage etc) or dangerous methods of getting bigger (steroids)."
So what do you think? Is this app a motivational tool or does it help users create their own unrealistic expectations? That's for you to decide.
From Feb. 19 through 23 on WZZM 13, our "Seeing You" series will continue with stories focusing on body image. The series culminates at a live event on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville where an expert panel will continue the conversation with attendees.
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