This is exactly the type of idiotic advertising that companies do just to get a rise out of people so we’ll all post it on our blogs and natter about it and give them lots of viral publicity and attention.
Sadly, I am unable to resist the bait and so I’m giving it to them. (“That’s what SHE said!” ba-dum-bum.)
Men’s Health magazine has launched a new advertising initiative ostensibly targeted at men but really aimed at getting the women folk up in arms. Probably because we’re so cute when we make that little scrunchy mad face!
The basic gist – as you can plainly see; it’s so unsubtle that I’m probably lowering your IQ by explaining it to you – is pictures depicting women exercising all alone, covered in sweat and exhausted. Why, you ask, is this poor woman blowing off a fun night with the girls to ride the one stationary bike in the deserted gym that isn’t facing the beautiful scenic view? You see, it’s because she wants a man. And as we all know (or at least so the magazines keep telling us), a man will only love us (subtext: will want to give us a good tumble on his high heat cycle *wink wink nod nod*) if we are svelte. Nay, not just svelte but skinny.
I mean, Lindsay Lohan’s got nothing on this bony chick:
The truly crappy thing about these ads are that they’re partly true. As much as it pains me to write this, a primary motivating factor in getting women to exercise is their looks. You can enthuse about heart health and longevity and increased intelligence all you want and we’ll all nod and agree. And then we’ll jump on the elliptical and whine about how we’re “working off dinner” last night or “running off the thigh jiggle”. It’s a sad state of affairs but it’s true. And to any woman who denies being at least partially motivated to work out by her looks, I would ask “What if exercise gave you all the health benefits – but made you fatter. Would you still do it?” Of course not. It’s why you see Katherine Heigl running on the treadmill for an hour and then lighting up a cigarette in the parking lot.
But there is one little nuance that the marketers forgot (perhaps intentionally?). Women don’t get thin for men. We get thin for other women. We know that men like a few lady lumps. And yet we pursue perfect thinness. Not because it makes us more sexually desirable – often it has the opposite effect – but because it makes us the Alpha Female. We’re competitive like that. Sigh. Stupid Men’s Health.
I’ve created a poll. The optimist in me wants you all to prove me wrong. But the cynic in me just wants you to be honest. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. (Holy 900-pages-of-advertising-in-Vogue crap, did I just quote Dr. Phil on here??) Anyhow, those of you reading this post in a reader won’t be able to see the poll unless you click thru, which you know you want to because any poll I create at midnight is guaranteed to be awesomely awful!
Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2011. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new book for more of my crazy antics and uncomfortable over-shares!