Dark Side of the Fitness Industry
How much longer should we allow our children to be poisoned and corrupted by so called “fitness influencers” who profit from body-shaming and manipulation while creating a toxic environment? As everyone knows, smartphones can deliver guilt, shame, and unrealistic expectations to those that are immersed in this negative environment, which is essentially all of our kids thanks to the creation of social media. In the past, newspapers and TV couldn’t shame us, as “the news” was always about someone else. But now, social media knows all of our secrets and pushes out content that is unique to each and every user. Apps like Facebook, which set the stage for the creation of even more user specific apps, have learned what we want and what appeals to us. All of this change has changed the way we live life for the worse.
Positive role models in the mid to late 20th century, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, have revolutionized the fitness industry and inspired many to better themselves physically. The industry was revolutionized by responsible teaching and honesty, but now it seems that people are becoming more selfish and greedy. Back then, people only discovered Schwarzenegger’s advice through word of mouth, the daily paper/magazines, or t.v.. We might think that because of advances in technology, today’s influencers could do so much more than they did in the 1900’s, but unfortunately many misuse their platform in ways that harm the viewers. The article, Social Media Fitness Influencers: Innovators and Motivators, quotes from a study conducted by Dr. Jonah Berger, a professor at the Wharton School, which revealed that “88% of consumers were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer.” We blatantly follow the advice of people looking to scam us online without even thinking twice because we think they are there for our own benefit, but in reality, they are there to grow their name or brands. These new influencers hold all the power, whether they choose to use it for motivation or manipulation, which is fairly more common, is the issue plaguing social media.
Unfortunately, the power that has been used to inspire individuals in the fitness world in the past, is being replaced with ostentatious behavior, mainly due to a lack of responsibility and lack of acknowledgement of their wrong doings.
First of all, these crooked influencers lie in almost every post they upload. As seen in the article, Olympian’s Career Tainted by Steroid Allegations, by Deborah Tedford, Olympic sprinter Marion Jones was caught lying about her steroid use. Although her scandal wasn’t presented through social media, it was still broadcasted on television, and at that time she was a highly respected fitness influencer for the female community performing on one of the biggest stages in the world, the Olympics.
The three-time gold medal winner has now pleaded guilty Friday to charges connected to steroid use in a federal court in White Plains, N.Y. — after persistently denying that she ever used performance-enhancing drugs.
At least in the past, people such as Schwarzenegger were open about their steroid use from the very beginning, making it near impossible for men to believe that his work can be naturally obtained. In turn, this does not create false hope for males, whereas females viewed Jones as inspirational, but her success was not natural. Why as influencers would we create false hope or narratives for people that see your success as motivation? Comparing the stories of both influencers steroid use is just one example of how fitness influencers today do more harm than good.
Second, influencers that flaunt their unattainable bodies lead to anxiety and shame when trying to reach those same milestones naturally, without the help of any external supplements. Increasingly, the younger the population’s reality is often distorted when viewing social media, creating a dangerous environment for them to be immersed in. The article, Two-thirds of schoolchildren would be happy if social media didn’t exist, study reveals, by Liz Connor, mentions that “52% of students surveyed claim that social media makes them feel less confident about their physical appearance.” Being on social media surrounded by fake news, stories, and manipulative people negatively alters the mood of the young viewers.
Finally, irresponsibility within the fitness industry leads to desperation within the youth. When easily altered minds are presented with an impressive physique and see the attention that body can present, they may automatically want that for themselves. Even if people know that steroids are not healthy, young teens may feel pressured to take them, as they see that having an impressive physique is the “standard” for receiving attention nowadays. What’s even more frustrating though, is that teens who already know the side effects of external supplements, such as steroids, still sometimes succumb to the pressure and use them.
The Taylor Hooton Foundation agrees that teens who struggle with obtaining a “perfect” body feel immense pressure when they see the results of performing enhanced substances on other individuals similar in age.
Our youth are exposed to images every day that tell them what they are “supposed” to look like.
Already prevalent, the contribution of manipulative influencers combined with social media can be deadly to one’s mental health, but it can also corrupt their interpretation of what it means to be healthy in the physical sense. Many think that physical health problems only stem from steroid use, but what they fail to realize is that dissatisfaction with your body can lead to eating disorders as well. People may tend to diet to extreme levels or consume extreme amounts of food in hope of gaining muscle mass.
The associations of social media use with both muscularity dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptoms were strong with apps such as Instagram.
Irresponsibility within the fitness community is not just spreading false information, it’s teaching kids that everyone should look a certain way and do the same things to reach those results. The people of this world right now are failing to normalize the right things, the things that inspire and create motivation. Not the things that push agendas or provide improper guidance on those looking to make a healthy change in their lives.
Recently, the whole idea of the body positively has become very prominent from the responsible side of social media, but undoubtedly there will still be those immoral influencers who irresponsibly manipulate newcomers, promote their branded equipment that is claimed to be better than other brands just to make a quick buck, and lie about their process of how they got to their present level. Getting these influencers to acknowledge their past mistakes and ensuring that new influencers do not continue down the same path is crucial in making newcomers and people already familiar with the fitness industry feel comfortable and safe.
Fitness influencers who partake in harming our children should feel shameful. Accountability and responsibility needs to be focused upon, and the consequences to those who are failing to be accountable need to be reinforced. Fear of punishment needs to be spread widely throughout the fitness influencer community to ensure that our youth is protected and not left vulnerable. Recklessly endangering the youth is not more important than wanting to show off your body or making a side hustle.
Connor, L. (2017, October 5). Two-thirds of youngsters would be happy if social media didn’t exist. Evening Standard. Retrieved October 16, 2022, from https://www.standard.co.uk/escapist/health/twothirds-of-schoolchildren-would-be-happy-if-social-media-didn-t-exist-study-reveals-a3651251.html
Griffiths, S., Murray, S., Krug, I., & McLean, S. (n.d.). The contribution of social media to body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms, and anabolic steroid use among sexual minority men. Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking. Retrieved October 16, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29363993/
Is social media driving anabolic steroid use? us16.campaign. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2022, from https://us16.campaign-archive.com/?u=49bd1b78fdfbe54419039d2f3&id=459cc471cf
Noonan. (2018). Social Media Fitness Influencers: Innovators and Motivators [University of Iowa].https://iro.uiowa.edu/discovery/fulldisplay/alma9984111976102771/01IOWA_INST:ResearchRepository
Tedford, D. (2007, October 5). Marion Jones admits using steroids. NPR. Retrieved October 16, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15026895
You haven’t asked for any specific sort of Feedback, GiantsFan. Let me start with this:
I love your first Rhetorical Question (and I will allow it!) because it can’t possibly be answered in a way that harms your argument. NO ONE will answer: “Poison and Corrupt Our Kids as long as you like!”
Can you maintain that sharp edge throughout the first paragraph? Here are some ways:
I went a little overboard there. (Writing is fun!) But I think you get the point. Use WE because we’re all at risk. OUR kids. OUR hearts and minds. And forget the vague “increasingly in today’s day and age” stuff. Bolder works better.
Is this valuable? Teachable? Learnable?
Yes, I appreciate the feedback. Would you be able to provide feedback on the quality of the body paragraphs and if they are convincing to someone who is pushing out the negative content (the influencers)?
Apparently, we’re going to work through this one paragraph at a time, GF. I have too much to say about P2. I can figure out what you’re trying to say, but it’s too much work.
Remember the context. You’ve just finished claiming that “All of this change leads many to believe that what was once simple, has changed for the worse.” That’s VERY VAGUE, especially since we don’t know if YOU BELONG TO the group that believes SOMETHING has changed for the worse.
Let’s see if you make clearer claims as you proceed.
—”Notable figures” isn’t nearly as positive as “Positive Role Models,” which would really nail down your point. Presumably today’s influencers have also “revolutionized the fitness industry,” so you can see that’s not always a good thing, right? Could you work the word “responsibly” in here somewhere? I hope you see my point. A little claim here and there erases all doubt about where you stand.
—This sets up a curious and confusing comparison. You have a positive take on AS, whose reach was limited. Readers who want to predict where your argument is headed might very well expect: “20th-Century role models could only DO SO MUCH GOOD because their reach was limited, but TODAY’S INFLUENCERS can do SO MUCH MORE GOOD given the ubiquity of their influence.” If that’s NOT where you’re headed, you have to say so very clearly.
—You’re using “aside from” to mean the opposite of what you intend. And the confusion lingers. Since your Introduction failed to identify you as among those who think things have gotten WORSE, you might still be using this paragraph to claim that influencers are dispensing good advice to a wider audience.
—You continue to pile on ways in which the world might be getting better thanks to influencers.
—So, now, two paragraphs in, we still don’t know whose side you’re on. Most of us will stop reading if you don’t guide us.
Your Marion Jones paragraph tries to hard to contain BOTH the tale of her hiding steroid use and the tale of Arnold Schwarzenegger revealing his. A better organization might introduce the difference between the two cases (closely following the paragraph in which AS is contrasted to today’s influencers) as ANOTHER way in which the AS era differs from today’s.
Once you get past the early paragraphs, you settle into a very strong and self-assured pattern of making very clear and bold thesis statements to lead into your paragraphs, with evidence to back up those claims.
1. First of all, these crooked influencers lie in almost every post they upload.
2. Second, influencers that flaunt their unattainable bodies lead to anxiety and shame when trying to reach those same milestones naturally, without the help of any external supplements.
3. Finally, irresponsibility within the fitness industry leads to desperation within the youth.
Apply that general rule throughout, GF, even in paragraphs that aren’t as obviously structured (with First, Second, and Finally). Don’t ever let your readers get past the first sentence of any paragraph without your position shining through.
Thank you for the feedback, I think my points and position can be easily determined now.