It hasn't been long since the #bulls**t job advert campaign took to the London underground, amusing commuters trudging back into the work routine after an indulgent Christmas holiday season. Now many of those same commuters are puzzled by the predictable yet infuriating pre-summer question – are you beach body ready?
However, the puzzlement isn't in the question itself. Rather, it is the insinuation that this one body featured is ready for the beach - this idealistic and highly unachievable figure - and this means you are inevitably not.
The advert from Protein World has fallen completely flat. It borders on motivational, and that was probably its intention, yet verges on pure intimidation. The result? A popular online petition created on change.org, positive vandalising and complaints issued to the advertising watchdog.
Whilst we shouldn't detract from the fact this is a real woman, retouched or not, it is very perfectionistic – an overall concept that has been ingrained in both genders for decades. The woman in the advert is no longer a woman - with thoughts, views and a life of her own - but merely an idea quite impossible to achieve. She has become an object in the same way the majority of the media treats not only women, but also various walks of life.
We mentioned "motivation" above, and there ARE slight hints in there, if you look closely - very very closely. For example:
However, teaming these two factors with an abrasive ad campaign, with an intimidating, bikini-clad figure staring straight into the heart of your soul, is more likely to have you reaching for a Big Mac – "do you want to go large?" "YES, GIVE ME MORE FRIES, STAT!" – than inspire you to getting into shape by using these supplements.
Addressing this anti-feminist, sexist and sizeist advertisement is one thing, however our main concern here is the promotion of weight loss supplements that often have no scientific basis. One of the most troubling issues is that healthy weight loss needs to be a gradual process incorporating hard work, lifestyle changes, determination and (hopefully) good fun. We all know this, and with the recent news involving a young woman who died through taking slimming pills without the essential precautions, this advert is not only wrong in promoting rapid weight loss, but ill-timed.
There are proven and effective weight loss treatments available that do effectively help those technically classed as obese lose the necessary weight, however you should never consider taking a weight loss supplement if you are just looking to lose a couple of extra pounds. Nor should a weight loss supplement be promoted as such a significant tactic for losing weight, classed as more effective than exercise and healthy eating.
The correct answer – yes, whatever your size.
Image credit @BeautyvsWomen