I’m sure you’ve all seen the furore that surrounds Protein World’s controversial ad campaign that’s plastered around tube stations in the UK. Bright yellow in colour with a slim, bikini clad model standing fierce in the middle of the poster, Protein World’s latest campaign has proved one clear thing. And it hasn’t got anything to do with fat shaming.
To me, it shows just how insecure and dare I say it, how emotional some of the women who were offended by the ad are. Many felt personally singled out by what Protein World perceives as ‘beach body ready’ simply because their body doesn’t look like Renee Somerfield’s – the model featured in the nationwide campaign. Can you believe that some women even threatened to bomb Protein World’s offices…
It’s this group that I need to address.
The most controversial part of the advert is the slogan – ‘are you beach body ready?’ which surrounds Somerfield. I get it. Protein World are implying that you have to look like her to be considered ready for the beach. Oh no, let’s all clutch our love handles and sagging breasts whilst we wallow in our own self-pity! Get over it. That’s their opinion which, although slanted, they’re actually entitled to. Obviously it’s annoying that such an opinion is blasted across the UK in bright, unmissable yellow, but it doesn’t call for the ad to be taken so personally.
For years, beauty companies have been advertising products that promises things such as ‘smoother skin’ and ‘plumper lips’ as if to say, if you haven’t got all of these things naturally then, as a woman, you’re slacking. That’s the advertising world! In order for them to be able to sell their products to you, you have to have some sort of self perceived hang ups about your appearance. Of course, just because it’s become the norm for advertisers to do this doesn’t make it okay, but if you’re comfortable in the skin that you’re in, then the look of a model or a company’s statement shouldn’t have the ability to send you into a state of frenzy.
With confidence in your body, there’s no reason for you to be offended or pressured by a realistic looking woman. And I use the word realistic because throughout the debate surrounding Protein World, the phrase ‘unrealistic body shape’ has been used to describe Somerfield. Sorry what? What’s unrealistic about her? Yes, she’s slim but it’s an achievable size. Speaking to Huffpost UK Lifestyle, Somerfield says,
‘I am a real person behind the image. I work very hard and live a healthy and active lifestyle which is why Protein World chose me for their campaign. I couldn’t work every day as a full time model by starving myself, dieting or not looking after my body. Nourish your body, be kind to it and it will love you right back, no matter your size.‘
Somerfield doesn’t have the ‘size zero’ body type that features so heavily in the high fashion world so I don’t understand what’s unrealistic about her lean frame. There’s many women that are either naturally slim or spend time working out to achieve that shape, so to call her body unrealistic based on the idea that it’s simply unrealistic for you because of your lifestyle choices is unfair. Somerfield continues by saying that,
‘Nearly every ad campaign you have ever seen is open to interpretation. But saying the ad is body shaming by body shaming the image is very contradictory.’
She touches on the idea of skinny shaming which I understand isn’t as prevalent as fat discrimination, but it’s still an issue. Due to how the media views their weight, bigger women have started body shaming skinnier women. However, negatively commenting on a slim woman’s size isn’t going to erase the discrimination that overweight women face due to the media is it?
There’s always going to be an overload of images in the media and in advertising that displays what society regards as an attractive woman. Just scrolling through the explore page on Instagram takes you to a whole new world. Insta Models with the teeniest waist that sits between gravity defying boobs and a more than generous bum are literally at your fingertips. Images like these are everywhere but it’s how you perceive them that makes all the difference.
Agree or disagree with my views? Drop me a comment with your thoughts!
Please please please keep an eye out for Taiwan based blogger Allie George with her article on Protein World. She has a very refreshing way of writing that is incredibly distinctive in style and tone. Somehow she can make anything she writes, however long, such an easy read. A trait I’d love to have! Below is a cheeky snippet of her Protein World piece, enjoy 😉
Beach Body. Beach, and body. Two separate entities that are yet so essential to life. Two entities that are so thoroughly enjoyed by the human race. One a tangible place and one a tangible object or so it may seem. It would appear that London is in turmoil questioning such a notion. There are so many connotations that come into play when the colour yellow appears. Selfridges, flowers, the sun; 3 things that London has in plentiful supply. However, the latest yellow thing to rock London is far from the sunny side up…
You’ll find the rest of Allie’s article here.