So you may well have seen the internet/social media furore surrounding a certain Protein World advert. If you haven’t, you can read about it here.
I’m probably about to get shot down in flames for this, but feel like there might have been a slight over reaction to the advert. Now I completely understand the viewpoint that women shouldn’t have to look a like that model in order to wear a bikini or go to the beach. I’m certainly not arguing with that at all. And I don’t think it’s right that people should feel the need to change who they are or strive for something unobtainable. But I feel that the advert is simply tapping into something that is already in the psyche of many people – a want to be the best possible version of yourself. The whole ‘beach body’ thing is nothing new. I was a big reader of print magazines before my current blog/social media obsession took hold and every spring they were filled with articles about how to get the ‘perfect’ beach body and get yourself ready for summer. And not just in terms of weight/body shape. But other body prep like fake tanning, getting rid of those bruises on your legs and how to paint your nails the right shade of coral to offset a tan. I think it is generally accepted that when you are gearing up for a holiday you do prep your body to be the best it can be; your own version of ‘beach body ready’ – whatever that may be. And of course not everybody is aiming to look like that model – but don’t forget who Protein World are and who their customers are. They’re a fitness brand and many of their customers do have that type of body or are working towards it.
There is without doubt a wider issue surrounding body confidence and how the media and advertising influence this. I’ve written before about how media can influence body image and I have been affected by skinny-shaming, so I do understand how images such as this can undermine confidence, but I feel that Protein World have been made the poster boy (no pun intended. Well maybe a little bit…) for what is a much wider and deep-rooted issue – which is the focus society has on looks. In an ideal world looks wouldn’t matter, but the fact is they do. People care about what they look like – for many and varied reasons. So it’s really not surprising that a company picks up on this in order to advertise their products.
Whatever my feelings towards the advert though, there is no escaping the fact that Protein World’s social media response to the backlash has been nothing short of appalling. They’ve shown themselves to be rude, obnoxious and arrogant. Somebody should probably lose their job for how it’s been handled. Or given a massive pay rise, given how much publicity they’ve gained from it…
So that’s my take on the whole affair. I can’t shake the nagging feeling that I’m about to be kicked out of the sisterhood but I promise I haven’t written this to be provocative or controversial. And I am super sorry if it offends anyone.
Until next time.