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protein world’s body-shaming: women take a stand



Protein World, a weight loss and fitness company, has been slammed over their recent ‘beach body ready’ campaign, which displayed a flawlessly slim, bikini-clad model with the slogan, ‘Are you beach body ready?’.

The controversial weight loss campaign has received a huge backlash for its alleged ‘body-shaming’, including a protest in Hyde Park and a petition on with more than 70’000 signatures.

‘Protein World is directly targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product,’ wrote Charlotte Baring, who generated the petition.

‘Not everyone’s priority is having a ‘beach body’ (by the way, what is that?), and making somebody feel guilty for not prioritizing it by questioning their personal choices is a step too far.’

Despite the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) receiving 378 complaints over the very slim model and controversial slogan, they have dismissed the objections, saying that the advertisement had a broader (much less obvious) meaning of ‘feeling sufficiently comfortable and confident with one’s physical appearance to wear swimwear in a public environment’.

Protein World has stood strong, maintaining a unapologetic attitude towards the campaign, saying ‘the ad invited viewers to consider if they were in the shape they wanted to be, and its ad did not imply that everyone should look like the model.’

Many have argued that the ASA declaring the campaign as harmless is a step in the wrong direction, with eating disorders and depression on the rise in today’s society.

‘We find the ruling from the ASA extremely disappointing and we would argue that the advert is irresponsible… While continuing to promote a slender body image as the only one we should aspire to, the Protein World advert advertises diet products, only adding to the harmful effect it could have on those susceptible to an eating disorder,’ said Rebecca Field, a spokeswoman for eating disorders charity Beat.

‘The ASA ruling that Protein World’s ‘Beach Body Ready’ ad was inoffensive, despite the outrage it caused and the fact that the watchdog has said it cannot run again, highlights just how provocative our industry can be,’ Lucy Camerer Cuss argued in a recent article for The Guardian.

‘At a time where there is a steep rise in eating disorders, cosmetic surgery and stress-related illnesses, brands should be held more accountable for the messages they portray.’

The public have made their stance on the provocative advertisements very clear by defacing the posters with ‘this oppresses woman’ stickers, following the campaign’s US debut in New York subways.

‘No one looks like that. Not even her,’ wrote Instagram user @katyapowder under the hashtag #thisopresseswoman.

Erin Mahoney from the National Women’s Liberation, the group behind the stickers, told the Huffington Post that women are fed up with being depicted as nothing more than sexual objects.

‘The more we can call attention to problematic images in our public spaces, the better. We say: Bring on the stickers,’ concludes Emma Grey, Senior Women’s Editor at the Huffington Post.


(Image credit: 1.)

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