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This is the original advertisement where there is an athletic woman posed in a bathing suit in front of the phrase “Are you Beach Body Ready?”. This advertisement promotes a specific type of medication that facilitates weight loss, in order to help women achieved their “beach body”. The problem with this advertisement is quite clear, who are they to define what a “beach body” is? They imply that the shape of the woman’s body is the singular, deal form that individuals who strive to obtain a “beach body” should work towards.
In my opinion, any individual who owns a bathing suit (and even in specific circumstances, those who don’t), have every right to go to the beach regardless of their physical appearance. Protein World is far from being the first company to use a thin model to promote getting “ready” for summer but what adds to the controversy is the fact that they utilized a white woman to portray what is deemed the standard for what one’s appearance should mirror when going to the beach.
This form of oppression is present in our everyday lives, sometimes so well blended in that we don’t see it as oppression (i.e. shaving commercials telling women to shave because men find body hair unladylike and distasteful). I understand that this advertisement was not created for the purpose of attacking females and diminishing the severity of eating disorders and other conditions associated to female oppression. However, Protein World’s method has failed to capture their target market because there is no singular definition of being “beach body ready”.
This advertisement illustrates what I believe to be the jammed version of the original advertisement. As a woman, I myself began to think negative thoughts regarding my physical appearance after having seen this ad. I began to think that the body I have now was not good enough, not fit enough and not toned enough to be perceived as attractive at the beach. Then, I came to the realization that that was my main issue with this advertisement; since when did going to the beach turn into solely impressing other people?
When I purchase a bathing suit, I not only consider how comfortable it is when I wear it, but also how it looks on my body, how other people may see it and what they may think. This is because I, including a large portion of the female and male population, am self-conscious; and it is advertisements such as the one above that contribute to my starving myself for days so that my stomach doesn’t bulge when I do go to the beach, so that I can be “beach ready”.
It is advertisements such as this that contribute to the prevalence of eating disorders and skewed conceptions of what a healthy, attractive, female body “should” look like. Perhaps if they had depicted multiple individuals, varying in ethnicity and body shape to display a sense of inclusivity, the public may have responded in a more positive manner. I deleted the second portion of the sentence and replaced it so it asks “Are you an object in a bathing suit?”. Women are viewed quite literally as the object in many circumstances. Specifically, in this case, the ad is not only offensive and insulting, but it also oppresses women by creating a largely pervasive climate of hyper-sexualizing women, WHITE women.
I had read an article that mentioned how the colour yellow is the first colour we notice when we see any type of advertisement (i.e. television, on paper, on the computer, etc.). This had also been the reasoning behind why the characters in the TV series The Simpsons were yellow. By placing this vibrant yellow advertisement in a subway, a mode of transportation that is utilized by millions of individuals all across the world, is another form of harassment.