Advertisements around the UK, by Protein World, have been seen by many, asking women if they are ‘Beach body ready’ while featuring an idealised view of how the average woman ‘should’ look. However, we the public may have had enough of being told by corporations and advertisers how we should look, feel and be in our own bodies as the adverts, especially around the capital have received a different reaction – vandalism.
Vandalism is a criminal act, but who’s to say which crime is really worse? An advertisement following conformity, sexualising women and making women and girls even more insecure about their bodies, or people expressing their views with a sharpie?
This advertisement is similar to thousands we have seen in the past and they seem to appear every year when the sun begins to shine. When it doesn’t rain in the UK for two days straight, the entire population prepares themselves for the summer and the rise in temperature somehow gives advertisers the right to tell us how to look for three months out of the year. If women or girls don’t conform to this type of look, then we’re out of the loop, banished away from the circle and no longer part of society it seems. Somehow it feels like there are only two categories; how you should look and how you shouldn’t look and if you don’t fall into the right category then you’ll spend your time wishing you were how you ‘should’ look.
As a society, we are too quick to judge people on their appearance, solely analysing them as an individual based on what their skin, hair, nails and bodies look like, which frankly needs to stop. This type of shaming affects more people than we like to believe. Apparently, only 3% of women are completely happy with their bodies and almost three quarters of women think about their size, shape and how they look every single day. These are scary statistics. Also, two thirds of women think that other women feed their body insecurities, as they feel they would most likely criticise their shape. Men are following suit, with the reported rise of body insecurities published this year.
The vandalised posters hit twitter and Protein World’s response was, in all honesty, disgusting. Surely with this type of bad attention and a petition to abolish the advertisements, which has already been signed by nearly 50,000 people, would make them re-think their marketing strategy? No, that wasn’t the case. Protein World tweeted in response to people wanting change, stating ‘Why make your insecurities our problem’, and ‘We are a nation of sympathisers for fatties’. The company also told one protester to ‘grow up’ and attached several pictures of magazine covers with ‘healthy’ looking models featured. If you’re wondering if it was a social media intern who was keyboard-happy that day, this attitude actually filters down from the top with the CEO tweeting one protester ‘it sounds like [you] had a lot of issues well before you saw the PW ad’. The tweet, unsurprisingly, has now been deleted.
Men and women who are overweight or obese have kore health risks than those considered at a healthy weight for their height, however, a person who is considered overweight can be in better shape than someone who isn’t. This idea of being unhealthy works both ways; people can be underweight and overweight, but we don’t seem to talk about this issue. Lots of women and girls can see this advertisement and become underweight, which isn’t okay either.
A woman’s body shape and her appearance is a modern-day obsession, which we all need to kick. It’s not healthy for ourselves, friends, family or men in society. If we don’t begin to fight back against these ‘norms’ then nothing will change. Courage and change are scary things but when put together are a beautiful combination.
I applaud the women and men who had the courage to vandalise the posters around London. I’ll gladly pass the pen to someone else too and remember, you’re too damn beautiful to conform to this bullshit anyway.