For my college english class we had to do a persuasive essay of our choice. I decided to write about disproving the misconceptions of bodybuilders and why they deserve to have at least one nationally televised event a year. Here is what I wrote, I hope you all enjoy.
Whenever a three hundred pound man with pure muscle walks down the street, people generally stare and are in awe of his physique. When people see someone fishing they just glance and walk away usually. Then why is it that these giants of muscle are not shown on television? There are a lot of misconceptions about bodybuilders that need to be disproved and bodybuilders deserve the respect of at least one televised event.
Some people would say that women bodybuilders are disgusting and they must want to be males because of the way they look. This is a hurtful thing to say to any of these females. Just because they have enormous amounts of muscle in comparison to other women does not necessarily mean they wish to be men. In Anne Balsamo's book Women, Sport, and Culture she addresses this assumption about female bodybuilders. "Although these bodies transgress gender boundaries, they are not reconstructed according to an opposite gender identity" (Balsamo 350). One of the more popular misconceptions about bodybuilders is that they are all just dumb muscle heads who lack intelligence. This misconception could have stemmed from the misconception that athletes in general are unintelligent, which is also not true. One of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, Ronnie Coleman, disproves this misconception. Ronnie Coleman is tied for the most wins at Mr. Olympia which is the largest bodybuilding competition in the world ("Bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman"). When one takes a look at this man it does not look like anything intelligent could possibly come from him. Yet Coleman graduated from Cum Laude from Grambling State University with a bachelor's degree in accounting ("Bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman"). Not a whole lot of people can say that they graduated Cum Laude from college and accounting is not the easiest degree to get in the world either. Common knowledge to some people about fitness is to prioritize cardiovascular exercise before weight training. These people do not think that weight training has as many benefits as cardiovascular training. Once again common knowledge will be proven incorrect. There are many benefits to weight lifting one of them being the muscle gains, "Exercises like calisthenics, running, swimming, and biking offer a fixed resistance. No matter how long or how often you do them, your muscles are always working against the same amount of resistance?But after an initial small strength gain, you won't get any stronger" (Lohmeier). This shows that weight training is a necessity and training like a bodybuilder is a healthy way to train. Lifting weights can also increase the body's metabolic rate which is the rate the body burns calories at rest (Lohmeier). It can also greatly affect a person's confidence, by becoming a stronger person one receives a stronger mind and positive self image. These health benefits could be instilled into people who see bodybuilding on television. If one were to be sitting around and see a muscular person on television flexing, which could be enough motivation to go to the gym. That person would then receive all of the health benefits listed above and could have possibly been saved from a life filled with poor health if that person continues to go to the gym. Some may say that just because bodybuilding being on television would not make any difference in the lives of the people watching it. Well, America is one of the unhealthiest countries in entire world if not the unhealthiest. In 2006 that 35.3% of adult American males reported in as obese on the body mass index (Obesity and Overweight: Introduction | DNPAO | CDC). This means that a third of adult males are obese in America which is a quite a disturbing figure. This number could possibly be lowered a tiny bit if bodybuilding were on television because men use athletes as role models. In twenty-four hours football star Brett Favre sold 3,800 jersey's in 2008 when he signed with a new team (Favre Trade Fuels Jersey Sales Records, Creates Big Buzz In N.Y.). This shows that spectators really do care about the people they watch on television. So if these people were to begin to care about a bodybuilder as much as they do about a football player, it is possible that that bodybuilder could give that fan motivation to go to the gym. Even if one fan is motivated to go to the gym after watching bodybuilding that is one fan that is saved from a life possibly filled with poor health. Possibly one of the most insulting things people say about bodybuilders is that they never achieve anything outside of being large and muscular. This simply is not true. A lot of people have probably heard of the man Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger is a retired bodybuilder who has starred in many films over the years and is currently the governor of California. Being a movie star is a pretty large accomplishment and to be able to add being a governor onto a list of accomplishments is a pretty large addition. Someone once said about Schwarzenegger, "If Schwarzenegger had more ambition than he has now, he'd have to be running for galactic overlord" (Sailer). Another person who disproves this assumption is a man by the name of Dick Tyler. In Rick Wayne's book Muscle Wars, Wayne briefly mentions how much Tyler has done for the world. "Here before me stood the saint who had given bodybuilding a good name, who had turned scores of nobodies into stars. He'd done more for race relations and the brotherhood of man than all the politicians, writers, preachers, and activists put together, and was, in my eyes, Captain Marvel and Saint Peter rolled into one" (Wayne 25). Sounds like a pretty accomplished man. Some people say that they do not want bodybuilding on television because of the possibility that it could make a young adult think that doing steroids was alright because bodybuilders use steroids. While it is true that most of the bodybuilders seen in pictures are steroid users, generalizing all bodybuilders as steroid users would be incorrect. There is actually a league for bodybuilders who enjoy the sport but do not wish to use steroids, they call themselves natural bodybuilders. These guys are not as huge but they are just as defined and garner equal respect that the steroid users do, they are just even more hidden from the public eye than the steroid users. Even if it were true that all bodybuilders used steroids it would be an illegitimate excuse for bodybuilding to not be on television. It seems like every few months there is another person being caught for using steroids in a variety of professional sporting events. This hasty generalization about bodybuilders would have to be applied to every sport under that logic then and to be fair that would mean that there would be no baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and many other sports on television. This would most definitely cause an outrage in people but it gives perspective to see how bodybuilding fans feel. Some people would say that there is not any slots to fill on television for bodybuilding. While every station has their set list of programs that are going to be shown and what times they will be shown, this does not mean that some of these shows could not be swapped out for bodybuilding. On Sunday April 19 ESPN 2 was showing drag racing from five in the evening until eight. After that the 2008 World Series of Poker was being shown. While the drag racing is understandable because it was actually live at the time the poker tournament does not make sense. Not only is the tournament not being broadcasted live, it is not even from this year. This shows disrespect to not only bodybuilding but to every sport that could have been shown in that time frame. It would not be hard to fit a bodybuilding competition onto television. In that time slot that the World Series of Poker was in a more recent bodybuilding competition could have been shown. While yes, it would not be live but it is still more up to date and it shows that the network displays equality when it is choosing its programming. The biggest event in bodybuilding, Mr. Olympia takes place this year toward the end of September. The women's finals is on September 25, a Friday, and the men's finals is on September 26 both taking place at seven in the evening (2009 OLYMPIA WEEKEND). At that point in time the only thing that could possibly be shown on sports television would be college football. There are four major networks, Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC. There are also two sports channels that come with a cable package, ESPN and ESPN 2. Why then, is there not a time slot available for this event? That is six network slots that could be filled during that time yet none of those networks are giving any respect to bodybuilders or bodybuilding by not showing the biggest competition in the sport. Bodybuilding competitions will always exist whether they get a televised event or not. It's not about the monetary gains that the sport or its competitors would receive by being on television, it's about getting the respect of the general public for something these men and women work so hard at.