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My Opinion

December 6, 2009

Is Putting Taylor Lautner on the Cover of Men’s Health False Advertising?

As a “health-oriented service magazine” that has transformed into a “lifestyle magazine for men,” was the choice to put Taylor Lautner on the cover of Men’s Health solely for magazine sales without consideration of the misguided message?

The dictionary definition of “teenager” is a person aged 13 to 19 years. Taylor Lautner is 17. Clearly, the Twilight and New Moon movie star sensation is a fitness role model for a younger generation; he transformed his body for a role — a well paying one. Which actor wouldn’t? Tobey Maguire did it for Spider Man, a movie that is now almost a decade old, and released in an era where magazines were thriving, Facebook was non-existent and Generation Y had yet to become the new digital driving force.

For the world’s largest men’s magazine, a photo of a Taylor Lautner on the cover would send sales soaring. According to the Men’s Health website, “Taylor Lautner Workout” is now the most searched term, followed by “Golf Exercises” (this information is in the footer of the site).  Incidentally, there are only 63 search results for magazine articles with the term “teenager” on the Men’s Health website, but a whopping 553 results for “30s.” Who then, is Men’s Health targeting i.e. helping?

On Wiki, David Zinczenko, the Editor-in-Chief for Men’s Health defined Barack Obama as “the prototypical Men’s Health guy: fit successful, a good dad, a good husband… He was a natural for the cover of the magazine during this important time for our nation.” Note: America’s first African American President is 48 years old.

Bona-fide fitness magazines have a responsibility to their readers; to inspire and inform. When Self magazine put a suspiciously slimmed down version of Kelly Clarkson on its cover, Self was accused of excessive “Photoshopping.” Ironically, the cover had a quote, presumably from Ms. Clarkson, “stay true to you and everyone else will love you, too.”

If the purpose of an international men’s fitness and health magazine is to help men get in shape, how could a teenager’s fitness routine serve to inspire and convince a generation of readers who are at least a decade older than their cover model?

Taylor Lautner’s intensity of exercise will provide markedly different weight loss results than someone ten years older than he

A teenager’s metabolism is remarkably more aggressive than a 30 or a 40 year old’s. Admittedly, Men’s Health was smart; the references to Taylor Lautner’s workouts were generic enough to render them transparent, however it is not indicative of the results a teenager would normally achieve. “I was exercising so hard that I began to lose weight,” says Lautner on the site. Most men — my age — would not and do not have this problem. Men in their 30s and 40s do want to lose weight. Taylor Lautner’s intensity of exercise will provide markedly different weight loss results than someone ten years older than he.

“If [Taylor Lautner] can overcome physical shortcomings, anyone can,” writes Men’s Health. Unless Men’s Health plans on launching Teenage Health, putting celebrities on their cover solely for the purpose of increasing sales, is nothing but an egregious dis-service to an audience of trusted readers.

Had a teenager regularly appeared on the cover of Men’s Health magazine during my weight loss struggle, any trust I placed on Men’s Health (and it was substantial) would have been reduced to skepticism and doubt.

  • I bought this magazine, and yes I am a TL fan. However, his dedication to fitness speaks volumes whether he is young or old. We can all learn from his example.


    2:10 am

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