T Nation

Are Magazines Harmful?

It’s official. Magazines for men encourage them to develop their bodies. And that’s bad, apparently.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7318411.stm

T-Nation had better give up now. :slight_smile:

Then again, the “University of Winchester” was until recently a teacher training college. Did my taxes pay for this “research”?

All it says is that men (in general) are becoming as obsessed with their bodies as women. Equate Paris Hilton with Tyler Durden.

From a social science point of view, this is a new trend and not necessarily health one. This difference is guys shifting from wanting to be athletes (run, throw, etc.) to obsessing over a particular ideal body form, equating self-worth with body fat, etc.

It may seem obvious to you, but it is new.

While this may be considered new information, (though I didn’t think it was) it certainly isn’t suprising. People have been campaigning against magazines and ads for years because of the affect they seem to have on women.

It’s sad that instead of working to encourage health, fitness and a healthy body image the media continues to promote the idea that there is a one size fits all perfect body, for both men and women, and that those who do not have that physique are failures.

Now, I know this is a bodybuilding site and we all want perfect bodies and so on… I’m not saying that it’s ok to be fat or anything, but I don’t think this is the best message to be sending either.

Lol @ the term “lads mags”!!


T-Nation Hardcore Lad Mag Extreme… For The Lads!!

Odd, University of Winchester sounds pretty badass. Does the curriculum include Firing a Rifle at a Full Gallop and Chewing Tobaccy 101?

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:
While this may be considered new information, (though I didn’t think it was) it certainly isn’t suprising. People have been campaigning against magazines and ads for years because of the affect they seem to have on women.[/quote]

For the women it is old hat, its thought to be new for guys-since early 90s or so.

[quote]It’s sad that instead of working to encourage health, fitness and a healthy body image the media continues to promote the idea that there is a one size fits all perfect body, for both men and women, and that those who do not have that physique are failures.

Now, I know this is a bodybuilding site and we all want perfect bodies and so on… I’m not saying that it’s ok to be fat or anything, but I don’t think this is the best message to be sending either.[/quote]

You probably have noticed there is some debate on this site about what constitutes perfect (or even achievable). There is a new thread on the bodybuilding forum about this right now.

[quote]beebuddy wrote:
Lol @ the term “lads mags”!!


T-Nation Hardcore Lad Mag Extreme… For The Lads!![/quote]

Yeah, quite a stupid term they use here.

Pffff…

They make having a good body sound like such a bad thing…it’s not like we’re fantasyfeeder.com, trying to get as fat as possible. Could you imagine how much trouble they would get in if they did an article about how fantasyfeeder.com encourages people to be fat? The fat people would be all over them for that in a heartbeat.

I got carpal tunnel syndrome from reading Penthouse.

[quote]hungry4more wrote:
They make having a good body sound like such a bad thing…it’s not like we’re fantasyfeeder.com, trying to get as fat as possible. Could you imagine how much trouble they would get in if they did an article about how fantasyfeeder.com encourages people to be fat? The fat people would be all over them for that in a heartbeat. [/quote]

You are confusing having a good body and an obsession with having a very particular body based on media images. Example: Say you are 30 and 5’2" and undercut your self-esteem because all the hawt starz are 5’10" and so you try every way possible to make your self grow, which you are not going to go. Your self worth is tied to an, in this case, impossible body type.

Being 5’2", eating right and lifting so you look good, at 5’2" is something else entirely.

To add evidence, look at how many people on this site, especially newbies, are concerned with their bf, especially the specific number (hold shoe here). I would argue it is evidence of the effect of the magazines (and other media outlets) in question. Body builders do not worry about bf until they compete.

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:

Now, I know this is a bodybuilding site and we all want perfect bodies and so on… I’m not saying that it’s ok to be fat or anything, but I don’t think this is the best message to be sending either.[/quote]

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but if that’s the case, why are you here? To strive for perfection is the hallmark of all great athletes and champions. I expect excellence out of myself because everyone else sucks so bad and I refuse to be anything like them. I personally would rather beat myself up over imperfections than accept mediocrity. Screw that noise. I won’t be happy until I attain it, and that’s fine with me even if it never happens.

Ideals exist for a reason. They give us something to shoot for. Something to look up to. And moreover, since I know that at least a few people have achieved it before me, I know that I can too.

Who cares???

I ask this question because, this topic has come up so many times but people never seem to care. Those who want to train will keep training. Those who do not want to train, won’t, leaving more room for us.

And lets not forget, obsessive for the general public is working out 4+ times per week. On a five day bodypart split??? Too bad. You better stop because you are obsessive. Eat healthy and with lots of needed nutrients instead of a 1000 calorie diet? Too bad. Even though the bodybuilders do it and many stongass people, somehow, it is unhealthy for the general population, so you better stop. Are you stronger than me? Well, stop working out because it creates a negative body image about me and it lowers my self-esteem.

Lots of things have a high importance level. Curing cancer, developing a new energy source, finding Tupac’s killer, and finally figuring out where Waldo really is, but yet research and the media continue to report on stupid stuff like this.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
buckeye girl wrote:

Now, I know this is a bodybuilding site and we all want perfect bodies and so on… I’m not saying that it’s ok to be fat or anything, but I don’t think this is the best message to be sending either.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but if that’s the case, why are you here? To strive for perfection is the hallmark of all great athletes and champions. I expect excellence out of myself because everyone else sucks so bad and I refuse to be anything like them. I personally would rather beat myself up over imperfections than accept mediocrity. Screw that noise. I won’t be happy until I attain it, and that’s fine with me even if it never happens.

Ideals exist for a reason. They give us something to shoot for. Something to look up to. And moreover, since I know that at least a few people have achieved it before me, I know that I can too. [/quote]

I’m not saying that striving for excellence is a bad thing, just that I don’t necessarily agree with some of the messages put out by the mass media. I don’t consider this site, or the sports discussed to be a part of the mass media. (If they were, people would not be asking me if I was going to go spray tanning before my POWERLIFTING competition)

Oftentimes the magazines are selling a worthless product along with an ideal that said product will never help one achieve. This is what I have a problem with, not this site, or the individual’s on here who are attempting to attain what they percieve to be perfection. After reading my original post again I realized thats what it sounded like.

So, suggesting perfection is attainable for all/making people feel worthless if they are not perfect = bad. Striving to be the best/strongest/fastest/healthiest you can be = good.

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:
Aragorn wrote:
buckeye girl wrote:

Now, I know this is a bodybuilding site and we all want perfect bodies and so on… I’m not saying that it’s ok to be fat or anything, but I don’t think this is the best message to be sending either.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but if that’s the case, why are you here? To strive for perfection is the hallmark of all great athletes and champions. I expect excellence out of myself because everyone else sucks so bad and I refuse to be anything like them. I personally would rather beat myself up over imperfections than accept mediocrity. Screw that noise. I won’t be happy until I attain it, and that’s fine with me even if it never happens.

Ideals exist for a reason. They give us something to shoot for. Something to look up to. And moreover, since I know that at least a few people have achieved it before me, I know that I can too.

I’m not saying that striving for excellence is a bad thing, just that I don’t necessarily agree with some of the messages put out by the mass media. I don’t consider this site, or the sports discussed to be a part of the mass media. (If they were, people would not be asking me if I was going to go spray tanning before my POWERLIFTING competition)

Oftentimes the magazines are selling a worthless product along with an ideal that said product will never help one achieve. This is what I have a problem with, not this site, or the individual’s on here who are attempting to attain what they percieve to be perfection. After reading my original post again I realized thats what it sounded like. [/quote]

Ok, thanks for clearing that up. And lol at the spray tanning! Are you serious? I have to say though, it may be my cynicism but corporations and media have always pushed crappy products and advertised them to be the next panacea–morphine, heroin, snake oil, and early “health” tonics anyone? So although I hate it and rant against it, I don’t really care about it that much in the grand scheme–people have to think about what they’re buying into, and some have to learn the hard way, just my perception of the way life works.

[quote]
So, suggesting perfection is attainable for all/making people feel worthless if they are not perfect = bad. Striving to be the best/strongest/fastest/healthiest you can be = good.[/quote]

I agree with you in principle, the key question though is where do you draw the line? I mean, I’m sure there were people in ancient Greece and Rome who saw the statues of Hercules and other mythic heroes, or gladiatorial/military heroes and got depressed b/c they could never be like that. And I’m sure that during the renaissance the explosion of nude art and other physical ideals were cause for some people to become depressed and have low self esteem because they felt like they could never attain that ideal. Of course, those statues and arts, and the early physical culture also had profound impacts on other people that may have caused them to achieve great things as well.

So in my mind it’s the responsibility of the reader to have the mental and emotional stability to NOT become psychologically imbalanced when exposed to this kind of thing. Now, I do know that there is a certain small segment of society for which this may be near impossible due to latent chemical imbalances or childhood experiences. And I do know that there is a line of objectifying women that should not be crossed, along with a responsibility of the media to not cross that line. But it’s still the reader’s responsibility in my mind, and always has been.

And I don’t think that we should start catering to that small minority with latent chemical imbalances who will inevitably become mentally/emotionally disturbed after reading or seeing these ideals. that’s what got us into this NAAFA, etc. in the first nonsense. We shouldn’t cater to the lowest expectations in my mind, and we should encourage the pursuit of excellence, as many of the ancients did–make it cultural. In Greece and Rome, despite their numerous faults, the pursuit of excellence in any form was a cultural ideal and expectation.

I hope this make sense, I just got done with a strongman workout and my mind is kind of clouded after all the keg runs…

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
I agree with you in principle, the key question though is where do you draw the line? I mean, I’m sure there were people in ancient Greece and Rome who saw the statues of Hercules and other mythic heroes, or gladiatorial/military heroes and got depressed b/c they could never be like that. And I’m sure that during the renaissance the explosion of nude art and other physical ideals were cause for some people to become depressed and have low self esteem because they felt like they could never attain that ideal. Of course, those statues and arts, and the early physical culture also had profound impacts on other people that may have caused them to achieve great things as well.

So in my mind it’s the responsibility of the reader to have the mental and emotional stability to NOT become psychologically imbalanced when exposed to this kind of thing. Now, I do know that there is a certain small segment of society for which this may be near impossible due to latent chemical imbalances or childhood experiences. And I do know that there is a line of objectifying women that should not be crossed, along with a responsibility of the media to not cross that line. But it’s still the reader’s responsibility in my mind, and always has been.

And I don’t think that we should start catering to that small minority with latent chemical imbalances who will inevitably become mentally/emotionally disturbed after reading or seeing these ideals. that’s what got us into this NAAFA, etc. in the first nonsense. We shouldn’t cater to the lowest expectations in my mind, and we should encourage the pursuit of excellence, as many of the ancients did–make it cultural. In Greece and Rome, despite their numerous faults, the pursuit of excellence in any form was a cultural ideal and expectation.

I hope this make sense, I just got done with a strongman workout and my mind is kind of clouded after all the keg runs…[/quote]

I don’t think I can argue with much of what you have stated, in fact, I agree with most of it. It certainly is up to the individual to judge whether a product is worthless, or believe what they see. And it is also the up to the individual to internalize these attitudes towards the perfect body.

I think NAAFA is ridiculous. Fat is not healthy. Fat is not beautiful. Fat is fat. People who are out of shape should be encouraged to get healthy and given resources to learn how to do so. They should not be given a bottle of diet pills.

I just think that as a society we focus too much on weight rather than health (as in we encourage people to do whatever it takes to get thin, regardless of whether it is actually healthy). That is just my opinion, which I will admit is heavily influenced by my own experiences.

As far as the cultural expectation of excellence goes…we are lazy Americans who value getting by with as little as possible (ok, I’m only half serious here).

Cool, I think we’re just using different words to express similar ideas. And I agree with you re: the societal over-focus on getting thin regardless of health. I agree 100%.

I’m mostly serious when I say that we Americans are lazy like that. But not all the way. I’ve seen different attitudes in different regions (midwest, south, eastern board) and rural/city/suburb. I think it’s just my personal experience as a person who has succeeded in changing aspects of his personality traits, shortcomings, and physical transformation that leads to that sort of cynicism–it comes and goes.

[quote]Tex Ag wrote:
hungry4more wrote:
They make having a good body sound like such a bad thing…it’s not like we’re fantasyfeeder.com, trying to get as fat as possible. Could you imagine how much trouble they would get in if they did an article about how fantasyfeeder.com encourages people to be fat? The fat people would be all over them for that in a heartbeat.

You are confusing having a good body and an obsession with having a very particular body based on media images. Example: Say you are 30 and 5’2" and undercut your self-esteem because all the hawt starz are 5’10" and so you try every way possible to make your self grow, which you are not going to go. Your self worth is tied to an, in this case, impossible body type.

Being 5’2", eating right and lifting so you look good, at 5’2" is something else entirely.

To add evidence, look at how many people on this site, especially newbies, are concerned with their bf, especially the specific number (hold shoe here). I would argue it is evidence of the effect of the magazines (and other media outlets) in question. Body builders do not worry about bf until they compete.[/quote]

You can’t change height. You can change your physique. Honestly, that’s not a very good analogy. And yes, bbers do worry about bf off-season; they’ve just accepted that some degree of fat is necessary to gain significant muscle mass. I agree about the obsession with bodyfat to a degree, but who gives a crap? Having low bf is easy. Having a six pack is easy. Being truly muscular (read: over 220 lbs) with low bodyfat, now THAT is difficult and requires discipline. Do you honestly think eliteballa32 read a magazine one day, and the next developed an unhealthy obsession with his bf%?

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
So in my mind it’s the responsibility of the reader to have the mental and emotional stability to NOT become psychologically imbalanced when exposed to this kind of thing. [/quote]

In my mind, this is the only real issue. Emotionally unstable people will always find something to get all flustered about, and blaming the object rather than the person who has a problem with it isn’t always smart.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
I got carpal tunnel syndrome from reading Penthouse.[/quote]

Reading??? is that what they call it these days?

[quote]Brooklyyyn wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
I got carpal tunnel syndrome from reading Penthouse.

Reading??? is that what they call it these days?

[/quote]

I read it for the articles.