You’ve probably seen Protein World’s latest ad campaign by now. If you haven’t, it’s sexist and horrendous. Like many other companies out there, Protein World is attempting to shame women in order to push their product. The image features bold writing asking commuters “ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?” when it might as well say “DO YOU FEEL SHIT YET?”. Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett wrote an excellent piece about the campaign and it perfectly sums up how I and many others feel.
Yesterday, I was on my way to work and happened to stumble across one of the billboards. I tweeted my frustration with the advert along with the picture above. “Beach body ready?, do they understand how insulting that is?”, I thought to myself. The lovely Fiona, who blogs over at The Escapologist’s Daughter, tweeted me saying she agreed and had an idea. The advert made us pretty mad and we decided to challenge everything it was trying to sell by posing next to it in our bikinis.
So that’s exactly what we did today! We exchanged numbers and spend the night before conspiring via iMessage – we even send each other bikini selfies in preparation. We were both feeling pretty nervous but agreed doing it together would be all the more motivating.
It was a very liberating experience for me as I’m not usually that comfortable on beaches in a bikini, let alone somewhere out of the ordinary in one. Fiona was right, having her there really did help. Once we initially dropped our dresses, it was fine and (dare I say it?) even fun! I woke up this morning questioning whether I really wanted to do it or not. Once I read Jamelia’s ignorant comments and saw a ton of abuse on the #PlusSizeWars hashtag, I knew what I had to.
We explained to a passerby that this advert made us mad and that we wanted to pose next to it before asking her to take the photo. To our delight, she was very encouraging and supportive. She took a ton of photos for us, cheered us on and told us we looked great. People walking by didn’t take much notice and even walked round another way to avoid ruining the photo. I was really worried we would attract abuse or men making us feel uncomfortable but we didn’t. My faith in humanity has been restored a little, it was definitely a successful experience.
The best part about all this is the fact that Protein World completely misunderstood,retweeted the photo and sent me a winky face emoji.
Comments like Jamelia’s, advertising campaigns like this and people in general telling women how they should look really anger me. I can’t believe I almost didn’t do this. I’m not that confident with my body and I was really worried I would feel worse about myself (have you seen Fiona?! Babe alert <3) but I just thought about how terrible it could be making others feel.
The entire premise of this advertising campaign is just utterly ridiculous. I am sick and tired of seeing just one body type pushed and sold across advertising campaigns, television and everywhere else. Us women are great and we come in lots of different shapes and sizes.
I don’t look like the girl on the billboard, and nor do I want to, and guess what? I’m still beach body ready! All I have to do is put a bikini on.
Ultimately, brands such as these will continue their sexist advertising tactics for as long as we let them. Let’s not let them. Consider this a call for resistance.
So ladies… let’s take Rhiannon’s lead and call out companies on their sexist advertising tactics – one bikini selfie at a time.
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