Are you ready for the beach?
by girl_power98 on September 26, 2016 - 11:12am
“Are you beach body ready”? What does this really mean? Sometime during 2015, Protein World released in ad for weight loss that caused controversy worldwide. Many imitations of the ad and a petition made on the site change.org to get this ad banned with over 70 thousand signatures (“Protein World’s ‘beach body ready’ ads do not objectify women, says watchdogs”). Fortunately, after all the backlash from the ad, people managed to get the ad banned all over the UK (“Protein World’s ‘beach body ready’ ads do not objectify women, says watchdogs”).The question is, what is this photo really showing us?
Firstly, we have a toned and fit white woman wearing a bikini. The slogan on this ad, is “Are you beach body ready” which is trying to sell their product by associating the slim and fit look as the right and only beach body. Right off the bat, we see the target consumer of this photo is women. This company is attracting women to purchase their product by attacking their body insecurities and showing them that they must attain this unrealistic body physique in order to be “beach body” acceptable. Many ads similar to this exist that promote this standard for women, in Anthony Cortese’s essay “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising, he discusses varies ads that promote the same standards. Cortese explains the kind of messages these ads convey to both women and men: “The provocateur is not human; rather she is a form or hollow shell representing a female figure. Accepted attractiveness is her only attribute […] Cultural ideology tells women that they will not be desirable to, or love by men unless they are physically perfect” (Cortese 59). This describes perfectly this ad, the tone white women is the “provocateur," she is the ideal image of beauty and companies represent this unrealistic female in order to sell their products by making women feel bad about their bodies and feel this product can help them be accepted and loved by society.
Secondly, these gendered messages display through ads like this one are very problematic because they indirectly send this false messages to both men and women. These gendered messages become so integrated into our lives that they become our culture and we believe them as truths. Women become obsessed with achieving acceptance since it is what they are taught. Cortese talks about how objectification of women in the media leads to self-objectification (Cortese 61). These internal issues manifest and lead to very dangerous issues. Statistics from the movie Miss Representation say between 2000 and 2010 the rates of depression doubled among women and about “65% of women and girls have eating disorders” which displays the psychological effects of our expectations towards women (Miss Representation). Cortese covers a couple stories of women struggling with issues related to the statics mentioned previously. A girl named Megan stated “My grandmother took me to a diet doctor who prescribed speed but I hated the way it made me feel. I threw the pills away. I felt powerless and angry. […] I wasn’t strong enough to stand up to my family and their influence when they hurt me” (Cortese 64). Here we have a girl who is pressured to lose weight in order to be accepted by her family, this how pills like the one in ad become successful, they play on women’s body insecurities. This shows not only is it the ads discouraging women but it is what the ads teaches, we pass down and causes many young women to suffer by harming themselves hoping to become skinny.
Thirdly, how can we advertise a weight lost product making people feel bad about their own bodies? The major thing I would change is the slogan, remove thus perfect beach body image but at the same encourage people to engage a healthier lifestyle. I would change the slogan to “Do what is best for your body”, rather than telling females to achieve this unrealistic image, this statement gives women control over their bodies by making thinking of what they put into their bodies. The objective is to mainly make women buy the product not to reach perfection but clean their body cause its best for their health. Next, I would not only target the product for women, because targeting it just for women gives it the impression it is only important for women to achieve a healthy body . I would remove the current photo and take a photo of group of people who are unique to one another, both men and women and have diverse body types.
In conclusion, this ad displayed our society values and beliefs on women’s role and how these unachievable standards can lead to very serious health problems like anorexia, eating disorders and depression. Therefore, in order to make change we must point out this flaws in our culture and redefine beauty standards. Beauty standards will never truly disappear from our world but we can stir away from them by introducing new empowering ideas.
Cortese, Anthony. "Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising."Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, Third Edition (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008):57-89. Rpt in 345-102-MQ: Gendered World Views. Montreal:Eastman,2016,3-19.Print.
Miss Representation. Girls' Club Entertainment, 2011. DVD.
Sweney, Mark. “Protein World’s ‘beach body ready’ ads do not objectify women, says watchdogs”. theguardian. July 1, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jul/01/protein-world-beach-body-r... Date Acessed: September 19, 2016