Do bodybuilding publications have an obligation to the customer?
Ethics within the world of competitive bodybuilding as a foundation for dialogue is like malicious capitalism in the world of professional boxing. The conversation should be had; however, it remains to be that elephant in the room of American culture. But to what extent do we delegate ethical responsibilities to those who have become wealthy or those who strive to attain wealth from the elements of entertainment that make these sports so marketable and engaging? Bodybuilding survives, not because of the individual athletes and their effort, but the institutions that endorse the sport and the most lucrative of these institutions remains to be the bodybuilding magazine. Publications such as Flex Magazine, Muscle and Fitness and Muscle Magazine are the leading bodybuilding lifestyle magazines and with millions of monthly issues sold annually, the industry is far from substantive economic downturn. With readership from all over the world, it is amazing the influence the magazines bolters; however as with many publications, do the editors, columnists and contributors seek to inform their subscribers of the surface or appealing material that they believe would be worth reading. The problem is, with a sport such as bodybuilding where steroids, placebos and destructive physical measures are inadvertently encouraged to achieve the absolute greatest success; wouldn’t it be in the publications best interest to represent the sport in its entirety? The documentary, Bigger, Stronger, Faster revealed the realities of visual fallacies by exposing the notion that the many models ,whom encompass the pages of every magazine, has either been digitally altered, taken steroids or both. The same models that so many readers base their impossible fitness goals after are in reality, nonexistent. The fallacy applies for many supplements as well. Many of the endorsed supplements are simply artificially processed placebos or basic whey proteins with a few added sugars, and yet all bodybuilding publications market these supplements as miracle pills or powders with the capabilities of supplying the instant gratification yearned for through a poorly researched, developed “fix”. The world of competitive bodybuilding consists of some of the most physically tumultuous activities undertaken by professional athletes; however it remains to be a rewarding endeavor for many with admittedly effective health benefits, but the question still remains whether or not these publications serve an ethical purpose to their readership. Some would respond with “yes” and some with “no”, but at least through effective dialogue the elephant can begin to make an effort to leave the room.