I’m really late to the whole Protein World/Beach Body Ready hoo-ha, but if you’re like me and haven’t caught up, here it is in a nutshell. Protein World are displaying poster ads of a woman wearing a yellow bikini to promote weight loss products in order that you can be ‘beach body ready’. There’s been a backlash from thousands, complaints to the ASA and demonstrations because it’s felt that it promotes an unhealthy body image. You must judge for yourself whether it’s an unhealthy body image. What’s unhealthy is to suggest that it should be everyone’s body ideal.
In beauty world, a press release that encourages us to ‘get beach body ready’ is absolutely commonplace. It can cover off anything from self tan and cellulite creams to nail polish and body lotion. Rarely, although not unheard of, do these releases mention weight. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to present your best body on the beach – it’s hard enough stripping down to what is essentially your bra and pants, and if you feel that body lotion is going to help you do that, then great – most of us need a little confidence prop up where the beach is concerned. But, despite being respectful of size, at this end, there’s a great deal of pressure to promote a ‘beach ready body’ in the form of product placement that might encourage readers to think that their bodies aren’t okay without being buffed and slathered in creams.
As a blogger, you walk a very fine line between being part of the ideal body movement and holding on to reality by using your words to express that the world won’t end if you aren’t moisturised enough. Hydrators, tans, exfoliators, lipstick, SPF, shampoo – you name it – none of these are weight or size relevant and yet somehow there’s a hidden message that everything looks better if you’re thinner. The bottom line on this blog is that your size is your business, not mine. The issue with Protein World’s ads is that they make size everyone’s business by displaying a body ideal on massive billboards that really won’t work for most of us, alongside slimming products. It’s not really even about attainability – it’s more about an assumption of beauty. There’s no crime in working for a body shape of your choosing, enjoying the gym and working out, or following healthy eating programmes – but if you’re doing it because your perception of an ‘ideal body’ comes from billboards or magazine pages, then you may find that no amount of slimming products and weight training is going to help with that.
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If I have learned anything from seven years of blogging, it’s that beauty comes in phases; what strikes you as beautiful today may not strike you as beautiful tomorrow. That you will go through many phases of beauty in your life, including size variations, very likely, and they’re yours to hold onto and do what you want with them. But one is not better than another – it’s just different. So, respect and value whatever phase you’re in; pay no attention to the phases of others, such as Protein World, and just enjoy all the aspects of your beauty phase as it is now.
The further aspects of the feather ruffling, such as the ungracious tweets from the brand owner, are best left in the ether – respect and manners, apparently, don’t come in a tub from Protein World.
NB: I’m not using any imagery on this post; nobody needs to see it all over again.
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