Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Friday, 24 April 2015

#EachBodysReady Looks To Destroy ‘Beach Body’ Expectations Of Sexist Adverts

#EachBodysReady Looks To Destroy ‘Beach Body’ Expectations Of Sexist Adverts

The Debrief: Could this be a tipping point for advertising?

Are you booking a beach holiday for the summer? Do you think it’s necessary to lose loads of weight to step onto any part of the planet where water meets sand? Do fat people sink when they go for a swim in the sea?

Well, then, Protein World, a company which sells ‘muscle collection’ pills for men and ‘weight loss collection’ pills to women, wants you to buy its products. To maximise sales, the company has paid to have massive adverts plastered all over the London tube.

The adverts are big, yellow and black (hazard warning colours!) and feature a skinny white woman in a bikini with the massive capital lettering: ‘ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?’

#EachBodysReady Looks To Destroy ‘Beach Body’ Expectations Of Sexist Adverts

The implication being that no way can you step onto a beach before having the model’s body. Oh, and that women need to be under more body scrutiny than men – there are no posters of men in their kecks to complement the female adverts.

Of course, a lot of people aren’t happy with the ad, so they’ve taken to protesting.

Here’s how they’re doing it.

1. Over 30,000 people have signed an e-petition

It calls for the adverts to be removed. Charlotte Baring, who started the petition, wrote on Change.org: ‘Protein World is directly targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product.’

She added: ‘Perhaps not everyone’s priority is having a ‘beach body’ (by the way, what is that?), and making somebody feel guilty for not prioritising it by questioning their personal choices is a step too far.’

2. The Advertising Standards Association has been contacted 

Over 66 people have complained and the ASA is now ‘carefully assessing’ the complaints to see if there is grounds for investigation.

3. The posters are being vandalised

Not the big ones that are dangerous to reach as some ridiculous anti-feminist commentators have suggested, FYI. But yeah, posters are being vandalised with things like ‘#EachBodysReady’ – the hashtag of the movement, ‘Yes – Everybody is. Love your body the way it is <3’, ‘None of your f*cking business.’ And like this:

4. Women are also posing WITH the posters

Not in support, but to defy the rules by showing that bodies can be beach ready so long as they’re bodies and on a beach.

Or just doing this:

The response

Protein World’s head of marketing, Richard Stavvers, has responded by retweeting a glamour model:

And then posting to Instagram a collage of lots of magazine covers with the comment: ‘Millions of girls, AND GUYS, use summer holidays as a goal to get themselves fitter, leaner and stronger. Nothing sexist about our ads, just human nature. Don’t make your insecurities our problem. #beachbodyready #proteinworld’

Funny how he talks about human nature and even pushes the point ‘AND GUYS’ but not one single Protein World advert on the tube features a man.

It might seem like a small issue when you look at physical violence against women, but these things are on a spectrum. Maybe the anti-Protein World fight will be 2015’s Blurred Lines moment?

Yes, that kickback went on. And on. And on. But it sort of needed to because it’s inspired positive change in the real world. Politicians listened to women’s groups and looked to put age restrictions on music videos.

If the fight against this sort of advertising – where women are repeatedly seen as only one specific idealised type of sex objects – gets more wind in its sails*, then we’re all for it.

*beach pun thank you v much

Like this? You might also be interested in:

Obesity In The UK Needs To Be Addressed, Just Not The Way Jamelia Did It

#WeAreTheThey Shows Women Of All Sizes Defy Jamelia’s ‘Body-Shaming

Why I’m Learning To Love My Nipples And So Should You

 

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

 

Tags: Protests, Body worries