Something that’s been depressing & frustrating me for the last couple of weeks is the whole Protein World advert debacle. In case you’ve missed it, it’s the backlash related to this Protein World advert for their weight loss range.
Other people elsewhere have been much more eloquent than I could be about the body image aspects of this advert, so I won’t bother to re-hash that aspect. Except to point out that I totally agree that everyone who feels “beach body ready” is beach body ready, whether they’re a size 4 or a size 32 or whatever. I’m not going to dispute whether or not this advert is promoting rigid body shape ideals – of course it is. I also completely don’t dispute that the lady in the advert looks great (but that doesn’t mean we all have to aspire to look like her).
What’s frustrating me most about this advert, and Protein World’s sneering reaction to it, is this sort of thing:
(This is part of a statement from Protein World themselves in reaction to objection about the advert.)
Protein World say their advert is promoting being healthier, fitter and stronger. But let’s look at the advert copy:
Sorry about the tiny picture; but it says “The Weight Loss Collection, meal replacement & supplements”.
And Protein World themselves are advocating replacing meals with tablets, in order to gain this “beach body” ideal:
Stating the obvious, there’s a total conflict here – what has a “weight loss collection”, where meals are replaced with shakes and tablets, got to do with becoming “healthier, fitter and stronger”? Absolutely nothing. Protein World’s advert is promoting a crash diet, for the sole purpose of becoming thinner, so you can look “good” (for whatever definition of “good” you’re using) in a bikini. And moreover, do you really think the (fitness) model got her look from using this product? Nope.
And yet people are just too dim to see this, are lazily conflating “thinness” with “fitness”, and seeing the backlash as “fit-shaming” :
No-one is “fit shaming” in the backlash to this advert. BECAUSE THE ADVERT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FITNESS. You do not get fit and strong from swapping your meals for tablets.
And again, no-one is denigrating any hard work people do in the gym to look “good” (again, for whatever definition of “good” you’re using). Because this advert is NOT PROMOTING FITNESS. It is promoting a very low-calorie diet, a meal replacement diet.
Do you think the CEO of Protein World, Arjun Seth, got to look like this:
… by replacing his meals WITH TABLETS?
Of course he fucking didn’t.
So seriously, if you’re reading the Protein World advert backlash as “fit shaming” or “lazy fatties” denigrating the hard work you’ve put in at the gym…stop. Stop and read the advert copy, for pity’s sake. You have fallen hook, line and sinker for Protein World’s cynical goading and you’re just denigrating yourself: because nobody who actually goes to the gym would touch Protein World’s “Weight Loss Collection” with a bargepole.
Not even Arjun Seth himself.