Last week, I waded into a Facebook discussion about the potential negative effects of the sexy, glamourous fitness model photos now seen daily in fitness magazines and websites.
Are they inspirational or disheartening?
Motivating or spirit-crushing?
Positive or negative?
Do ‘ordinary’ people (I count myself in this group), look at them and think “Hey, I want to look like that; if she can do it, I can too”? Or do they quickly click away, feeling defeated and inadequate and even less inspired to head to the gym and bypass the dessert menu?
Lots of interesting points of view were raised. I’ve paraphrased some of them below (and added my own thoughts in parentheses).
- nobody is forcing anyone to look at the images (true, but hard to avoid and even a glimpse can subconsciously affect some)
- who defines the word ‘fitness’? (it means different things to different people and is not necessarily the same as ‘skinny’ or ‘sexy’)
- we’re all looking through different lenses, defined by how we feel about our own bodies (body image is personal and can be changed)
- not just women are affected; young, ripped male bodies are the example older men have to gaze upon
- seeing ‘before’ photos can make the ‘after’ pics more inspirational (I love ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots)
- many of the digital images we see are altered and everybody knows it (but do they really?)
- the fitness industry relies on new recruits to sell products and services; we need to be easy to approach to those who most need us (how do we get plus sized participants into our gyms if everybody working out there is a size 0?)
I would love to continue this discussion with you.
Sexy, air-brushed fitness model photos: love ’em or hate ’em? Comments below please!