poster divergence: ‘The A-Team’ and ‘Sex and the City 2’

I’ve been particularly struck by the posters for The A-Team (a big version after the jump), variations of which are currently appearing on the sides of buses and on the walls of subway stations all around New York City. The images are genuinely arresting, and I’m always unable to stop myself gawking at them. Take a look:

Notice how the harsh lighting and the extreme closeups seem to highlight every wrinkle, every pore, every bit of stubble on the faces of Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, and Quinton Jackson. Every “imperfection” is right in our faces, and yet this renders them all very attractive and very human. Even Cooper, who is almost supernaturally gorgeous, seems like a mere mortal here, yet oddly even more appealing than usual.

You might consider that ironic, since Hollywood tends to want to iron out all suggestion of humanness in the faces it pushes at us, but it’s downright startling when you compare this poster to that of Sex and the City 2:

These women barely look human — as Jezebel noted back in April, this poster is a Photoshop of horrors. Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, and Cythia Nixon don’t look good at all, and yet clearly what is operating here is an assumption that women’s human “flaws” must be downplayed in order for them to be considered attractive.

These two posters constititute a distressingly blatant example of how Hollywood pushes very different standards for women and men: men are more attractive the more human they are, and women are more attractive the more unreal they look.

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