Photo by Martine Jacobsen. This post was taken from an article written by fitness trainer Jonathan Angelilli, originally published on his blog TrainDeep. It has been edited for length and content. 6 minute read.

Sex is one of the more beautiful, powerful, and natural aspects of our humanity. But like anything powerful, it can be used in cheap ways that don’t truly honor its awesomeness. So I have a question for you: does your personal trainer or fitness coach have to be hyper-sexualized in order to motivate you?

These days—if the internet is any indication—it’s not enough to be strong, intelligent, healthy, educated, and a great coach. You must also be smokin’ hot. Like so hot I can’t even focus on the exercise I’m currently doing (which seems counterproductive, but whatever).

In fact if you’re hot enough (on the superficial level at least), then I don’t even care how much you lack in those other qualities. Just make me sweat!

Related: I Repped My ‘Porn Kills Love’ Tee At The Gym, And This Happened

Do you subscribe to this way of thinking, whether you realize it or not? That’s what it seems like these days. And I’m guilty of it, too.

Sure, everyone from large corporations to personal fitness brands have been using the “look better naked” approach to selling fitness for a long time. And sometimes it’s been done in more “tasteful”—or at least more interesting—ways than others.

But recently, it seems like the pornification of fitness has taken on a whole new level of superficiality.

Related: Is Softcore Advertising A Gateway To Porn?

Please don’t get me wrong, I love the female form and find it profoundly inspiring and empowering. I just think we all have to acknowledge that with that awesome power comes the need for great responsibility. (And yes, the emphasis of this post is on the pornification of women in fitness, but this trend includes men as well.) After all, a knife is powerful but neutral. It all depends on who’s holding it—a murderer or a surgeon perhaps—and their skill level.

Softcore Porn or Fitness?

#Fitspiration has turned into full-blown, softcore porn workout videos of woman after woman exercising in booty shorts. You can’t actually work out to them, as they quickly cut from one shot of a girl doing a handstand in a thong to another girl bouncing up and down doing jumping jacks in a bikini.

Related: The Problem With Saying “If You Don’t Like Porn, Don’t Watch It”

How did we go from fetishizing waif-like, anorexic models right to brawny fitness chicks? I’m almost tempted to say this is a step in the right direction—at least these women look like they could kick some ass and not just look pretty. But I know better than that.

There’s also the “Hottest Trainers in America” lists, which I’m guilty of being on, but if you follow my posts, you know I don’t hyper-sexualize my content to sell fitness.

Where do we draw the line between a healthy expression of our sexual power and using objectification to sell fitness?

The Pornification of Mass Media

The pornification of fitness is just a small trend within a much larger cultural pathology: the pornification of mass media.

That news reporter better be hot and her sweater better be tight when she tells me about that horrible bus accident. And I don’t want to listen to a pop song unless it involves graphic sexual references and a specific booty-shaking dance to match. And then there’s hardcore porn, which the internet has enabled us to consume for free at an astounding rate.

Related: Porn & Pop Culture: How Society Is Becoming More “Pornified”

Could it be that we’re trying to superficially satisfy a much deeper human need? Just to be known, seen, touched, experience our own power, and be intimate with another, perhaps?

It’s strange and funny that most of us preoccupy ourselves with the superficial symbol of that which we yearn for—the healthy, powerful human body—instead of diving deep into the essence and source of what that symbol represents. It just scares us way too much. And I think it’s time we all admit it. I’m not up here admonishing you, I’m right there in the same boat as everyone else.

Watch: Female Powerlifter Speaks Out On Porn

The Origins of This Trend

Where is all this coming from? Why is there such a large general trend toward the pornification of culture in this country?

The media constantly barrages us with a narrow range of human bodies, and on a subconscious level, we accept that to be the height of beauty.

Related: Research Shows Softcore Porn Linked To Greater Acceptance Of Rape Culture

Isn’t it strange that this cultural pathology affects us all in very predictable ways and at the same time convinces us that we are different? The shame that goes along with that “being different” keeps us isolated from one another.

We’ve become so afraid of each other that intimacy of any kind is just too threatening. How many kids are being systematically starved of touch and social interaction, making them ripe for social anxiety disorders, low emotional intelligence, and a compulsion to porn later?

The Sex Reset Button

The thing about porn is that it is “safe.” There are no emotional risks, no intimacy, no other live-in-the-flesh human being staring at you, mirroring your own actions back to you. But humans need humans to survive. It’s our evolutionary advantage over all other beings and the reason we developed language and complex emotions: to work together to strive and survive.

So how do we stop interacting with symbols and directly experience that things the symbol represents? I honestly don’t know, but I think it takes real courage and the willingness to give up our digital addictions and human-robot tendencies that have been programmed into us by the media. It’s the only way we can start living real lives of our own.

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Going Beyond Modesty

Let it be known that we as an organization are not at all the “modesty police.” We fight against the harms of porn, not against the human body. We aren’t fighting against yoga pants or guys and girls wearing trendy workout clothes and showing off their rocking bodies. We think this fight goes way, way beyond that.

In fact, it can be said that sexualizing anyone, even a male or female in regular workout clothing, is a part of porn culture. This is what porn does to society—it inspires consumers to objectify those around them even in the most unassuming, non-sexual circumstances. Even if it’s just a guy working out at the gym, or a woman next to us in yoga class.

Related: An Official Letter From The CEO Of Fight The New Drug

But let’s be real—the #fitspiration trend is concerning. Obviously, can’t post the types of photos we are talking about here, but if you have ever opened up a fitness magazine or seen “squat inspiration” accounts on social media, you know exactly what we are talking about. At what point will we realize that perfectly retouched photos of women wearing a full face of makeup and hair extensions, and guys posting endless shirtless selfies at the gym is not real life? There is a BIG difference between fitness and sexualization.

That’s why it’s so cool that Steve Cook, one of the fitness/bodybuilding industry’s biggest names with over 1.7 million followers on his Instagram, reps the Porn Kills Love movement. Steve has competed in Mr. Physique Olympia, won Bodybuilding.com’s Fit Body Contest and has been on the cover of Muscle & Fitness Magazine. Steve posted this pic in one of our Porn Kills Love tees:

steveembed

What YOU Can Do

SHARE this article and take a stand against the pornification of our society. Get educated and spread the word.

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you in? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

 

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