Original Advertisement Analysis


The advertisement I will be deconstructing for my culture jam was released by Strong4Life, a company based out of Atlanta, with the aim to help parents raise ‘healthy’ kids. The advertisement depicts a sad young fat girl standing with her arms crossed with the caption “Warning: It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not. Stop childhood obesity.” The ad is intended to be blunt and shock the viewer into taking action to improve their health, however, in actuality, it demonizes fat female bodies and creates a binary between health and fatness.

The advertisement takes the girl’s humanity and implies that because she is fat, she is no longer a little girl; her fatness defines her as a monstrous being no longer deserving of the same care and respect that other, thin, children are provided. She is thus presented as a warning sign of what fatness entails for women: dehumanization. Despite being perceived as a movement to improve the health of women and children, fat shaming is used by patriarchal society as a form of gendered domination to vilify fat female bodies as complicit in their own degradation. Fat female bodies are held responsible for their fatness and the harassment which accompanies this position. Fat women take up more physical space, are seen as bothersome, and are viewed as undesirable to look at; they are the physical embodiment of everything the patriarchy hates. In patriarchy, women are reduced to sexual beings, objects of pleasure, and are constantly told what to do with their bodies. Patriarchal control of female bodies works to diminish bodily autonomy and serve as an instrument for the continued persecution of women. Body shaming works to shape Western women to please men. By framing childhood obesity as a societal health problem and openly persecuting fat women, the advertisement advocates the harassment of fat women and children. It makes no genuine effort to tackle the health issues it claims but instead resorts to fat shaming.

In short, this advertisement reinscribes notions of health and wellness equating thinness and upholds the gendered domination of patriarchal society.


Original Image Address: https://www.npr.org/2012/01/09/144799538/controversy-swirls-around-harsh-anti-obesity-ads

Jammed Advertisement Analysis


I used my culture-jammed version of the Strong4Life anti-childhood-obesity advertisement to deconstruct understandings of fatness and expose the patriarchal foundations in fat shaming. By replacing the statement “it’s hard to be a little girl when you’re not” and “stop childhood obesity” with “it’s hard to be a little girl when patriarchal society dehumanizes you” and “stop fat shaming,” I reveal the dehumanization inherent in fat shaming. My alteration depicts patriarchal society’s degradation of fat female bodies as inhuman and explores that what actually makes it “hard to be a little girl” is the constant dehumanization and discrimination of patriarchal society. Patriarchal society asserts that in the name of health, it is socially acceptable to harass fat bodies. The dehumanization of fat bodies is deemed reasonable, because, through the use of media and advertisements such as these, fat bodies are already subhuman to society. Once fat women are deemed inhuman, they are stripped of their respect and are open to public ridicule and rational bullying. When this is imposed on young women and girls, they believe they are worthless unless they conform to Western ideals of beauty and thinness. This ultimately satisfies the aims of patriarchal rule: women viewing themselves as inferior. The original advertisement conveys the idea that if one is fat, the cruelty they are subjugated to is self inflicted. The jammed version asserts that being fat is not the issue; the issue is the patriarchal society which dehumanizes you for being so. In a patriarchal society, female bodies are public domain, open to criticism, however, my rendition of this advertisement turns the shame from fat bodies onto the patriarchal structures which ridicule them.


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