What makes a man’s face a man’s face? Is it a strong jaw or a powerfully furrowed brow? And what defines a woman? Is it her cheekbones or her lips?
These are the tacit questions asked by Worth1000, which assembled a fantastic gender-bending Photoshop contest that transplanted some of the world’s most famous faces onto the bodies of the opposite sex.
Granted, many entries are just relatively rough face swaps–Adrien Brody’s shots tend to resemble drag queens. Those are fun in an SNL sketch sort of way but not much more.
Some entries show soft-skinned actors as so convincingly effeminate/masculine it’s almost scary (young Leonardo Dicaprio and Keanu Reeves practically define this camp, while Angelina Jolie holds her own).
And then there’s the third kind of entry–my favorite kind–the grizzled old men who totally convincingly work as confident, mature ladies: Hugh Hefner, Tommy Lee Jones, Richard Gere, and Clint Eastwood. Watch out, Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, they’re gunning for your next Oscars.
Now, I was going to offer some thesis as to why this was true–deconstruct particular features and make a point on androgyny and the aging process–but in complete disclosure, staring at famous men as women and women as men has turned my own gender classifications into mush. It’s surprisingly exhausting to look at these portraits for more than a few minutes, as the gender cues and facial recognition that prove so reliable in day to day life are blended into a slurry of confusion by Photoshop artists.
Just don’t judge me for asking one quick question–Richard Gere was a man before this article started. . . right guys?