Days of Change

Me Writ Gud | April 29, 2015

My favorite story of the week is from a diet supplement company called Protein World and their cheeky ads in British mass transport tunnels and airports. It features a young woman in a bikini with the question, “Are you Beach Body ready?” This kind of ad would have been common in the 80’s and 90’s and, in fact, there are a number of exercise videos sold under the umbrella of “Beach Body.” However, this is part of the liberal world and social justice whiners will not be confronted with fit women.

Step one was for women (and liberal men who often drive bullying over feminist issues) to complain to Protein World and womansplain to them that every body is ready for the beach by virtue of that body being at the beach. Then something funny happened. Instead of issuing an apology, Protein World started firing back at their social media critics, actually driving sales of the product to people who finally saw a company not cower to the grievance industry. On twitter, #growupHarriet became a trending hashtag.

This is in Britain, however, so the company has paid a price. The ads are now under review, which means they may not be able to advertise to subterranean commuters in the same way. There has also been a media backlash. When a company can’t be intimidated and their product can’t be boycotted, (people buying it already want to change their body image) it is time for writers to destroy their business. Some have dragged out the old argument that protein is an ineffective diet product for losing weight, for example.

The other hilarious argument I heard is some media outlets calling Protein World trolls for responding to whining on the internet. I would remind them that the trolls are the ones trying to pick a fight. It is true that the social justice bullies expected Protein World to cave under pressure, but their “body shaming” indictments were trolling meant to interfere with their normal business. The fact that they chose to respond inadvertently gave the company power.

Today I read about two bloggers / tweeters who decided to “protest” by standing in front of one of the posters in bikinis. For two English women who have been through the winter, I’d say their beach bodies are average to above average in the population. The redhead was the one who called them trolls, even though she is the one picking the fight.

What I find interesting is that Protein World has said the model’s image in the poster is something to aspire to, not to replicate. Like it or not, spring and summer are the times when people go to the tanning booths, hit the gym more and take a long neglected interest in salads. If you’re going to try, why not use a diet product? These bloggers and paid writers probably aspire to be like other great writers they’ve read. From what I can tell, most won’t make it to that level. Is that author-shaming? When Michelle Obama walks around in her sleeveless dresses being praised for her arms, is she flab-shaming other women her age?

Protein World makes a good point in their social media. If you consider it body shaming and you think your body is beach ready because it’s a body, why spend so much effort shaming a company trying to help others who aren’t so undeservedly proud?

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1 Comment

  1. On the other hand, only those who already feel ashamed can be shamed by others. Believe me, my family wrote the book on that one.

    Comment by Mary — April 29, 2015 @ 11:47 pm


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