Politics & Policy

Fitness-Supplement Company under Fire for Using a Fit Person in an Advertisement

Avert your eyes…

Hundreds of people are planning to protest at Hyde Park in London on Saturday because a company dared to use an image of a fit woman to sell a fitness supplement.

The offending ad was for Protein World’s “Weight Loss Collection,” and featured an attractive, fit woman along with the words “Are you beach body ready?”

Now, you may think that using a model who weighs relatively little to advertise a supplement that’s intended to help people lose weight would be a logical, uncontroversial choice. But what you’d be overlooking is the fact that some people would interpret the pairing of the model with the question “Are you beach body ready?” as the company suggesting that anyone with a different body did not deserve to go to the beach, which was sexist and fattist and evil and how dare they

Oh, and by “some people,” I mean “a hell of a lot of people.” After all, not only have more than 500 people RSVPed for the protest, but more than 53,000 have also signed a petition demanding that the ad be removed for these very reasons.

“The question I would like to pose to whoever gave this advert the go-ahead would be: what is ‘Beach Body Ready’? And who would not be?” the petition asks.

“Perhaps not everyone’s priority is having a ‘beach body’ (by the way, what is that?),” it continues.

#related#Well, first off, a “beach body” generally refers to a “fit” body, which is often attached to those people who focus on eating healthy and/or exercising regularly. It is not to be confused with having the kind of body that is allowed to go to the beach. All bodies are allowed to go to the beach.

As for the petition’s other point, I’d agree that having “beach body” is definitely not everyone’s priority, and that that’s okay.

But here’s the thing: For some people, it is a priority. Some people do want a fit, trim body (which, by the way, is also okay) and are in the market for things they think can help them achieve it — which is exactly what any supplement company is trying to convince potential customers that it can do. After all, if you’re a company trying to sell a product to a specific group of people that you know are looking for a particular result — wouldn’t you want to portray your product as being something that produces that result? 

Oh, and in case you’re tempted say that those who do think it’s important to have a fit body only think they think so because they’re the helpless victims of advertising campaigns — let me remind you that you’re not supposed to make assumptions about people based on how their bodies look.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

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