Misleading Gym Advertisements

Chris BeecherAdvertisement Analysis, Argument, New Voices, Previous Editions

There are advertisements at every store, gym, and street. Every day, we walk by hundreds of advertisements without even stopping to see what message the advertisement is trying to send. Even when we do notice, we usually do not stop to fully analyze what is being sold to us. Most advertisements have a deeper meaning and sometimes that underlining meaning can be objective, superficial, and misleading. A good example would be the images at a gym. Looking at images of fit men and women, gym-goers fantasize themselves looking like those fit men and women. However, those images are set as standards and not as  goals. The advertisements at the World Gym in Tujunga, like the one of Joe Gold and the woman wearing a bikini on the beach, send a harmful message to the gym-goers about what their ending result should look like and set unrealistic standards.

The gym is a place where people go to get stronger and build a healthier body. Walking into the World Gym in Tujunga, a person can find pictures of fit men and women along with other pictures that help tie in that feeling that you are at a gym. There are three pictures at this gym that pop out the most. One of the pictures is of the founder, Joe Gold, flexing. Next, there is a picture of a woman with sunglasses admiring a man’s biceps, which can be seen from the reflection of the glasses. Lastly, there is a picture of a woman in a bikini with the word “photogenic” written on it. What do these advertisements have in common? These three pictures might appear to have a motivational purpose, when in reality, the pictures push men and women to want to become those photoshopped perfect bodies. They are either portraying people as superficial creatures or pressuring regular gym-goers to strive to achieve an unrealistic standard for their bodies. The desire to have a perfect body can easily turn from motivation to addiction causing harm to the body. Men and women become obsessed with becoming perfect, not healthy.

The founder of the World Gym, Joe Gold, is also known for being the father of bodybuilding. He is a recognizable face in the world of working out. From the day an average World Gym-goer starts working out his/her eyes start wondering around the gym looking for entertainment or motivation. Eventually, his/her eyes land on the image of Joe Gold, who is a very muscular man. He/she slowly starts pushing harder and harder without coming close to looking like Joe Gold. The goal of becoming a healthier and stronger version of self turns into an obsession for obtaining a perfectly sculpted body. However, some people cannot achieve this goal. Each body is different and reacts to exercise differently. For some people this frustration leads to turning to performance drugs. What started off as just another goal has now turned into a problem. That picture of fit Joe Gold has turned somebody who looked up to Joe into a person that cannot control himself/herself anymore.

The second picture is an advertisement of a woman with sunglasses admiring a man’s biceps while she licks her lips. What this advertisement shows is that to gain the attention of a beautiful woman, the man has to have perfect biceps. It is true that some women will be attracted to men with muscular bodies, but that is not important to every woman. And this is not the message we want to send to a man that is at the gym working hard to become a healthier version of himself. He does not need big biceps to become someone that he is happy with or somebody who can attract women.

The third picture is showing a woman in a bikini on the beach with the words “photogenic since 1976” written on the advertisement. The word “photogenic” on a picture of a thin model, who likely has been photoshopped, conveys the message that an average woman can be photogenic too if she strives to look like the model in the picture. The World Gym is showing that women have to look like the model in picture. Women should be proud of who they are, regardless of their size, but instead these advertisements set unrealistic standards. These images of photoshopped models make women think that that type of body is possible to achieve. However, some of those models do not even have a body like this; the image has been photo shopped to make them look perfect. Perfection does not exist and that is an unrealistic standard to strive to achieve. The gym is a place where people go during the process of transitioning their bodies, while they try to become a version of themselves that they are happier with. Why should this version be of someone who looks like the models from the pictures? The advertisement of a woman in a bikini on the beach with the word “photogenic” written on the advertisement sends a harmful message that a woman has to look like a model to be accepted among her peers.

The purpose of a gym is to help whoever is willing to work hard get in shape and stay healthy. Advertisements around the gym should add extra motivation for the person working out. Instead, at the World Gym in Tujunga, the advertisements send the wrong message that it does not matter how long one works out for, he/she cannot be as perfect as the models from the advertisements. We live in a society that encourages us to look as perfect as possible, that perfection can lead to eating disorders. This is all caused by the expectations that are put on men and women to look like either a model or a body builder. Some advertisements are powerful, they affect people subconsciously. They sink into our minds and dictate our choices.