Date: May 4, 2015
posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: Beach Body, Bikini body, Body Shaming, Protein World, weight
Sadly I’ve just returned home to chilly, wet London from sunny, beautiful Jamaica. Already the warmth and the sand between my toes is but a distant memory.
Seven incredibly restful days were spent lounging on the beach with my husband, and although I’d love to report that my mind was totally engrossed in the novel I had my face buried in, it was not. I spent much of my day, as I observed the many other women at our resort, preoccupied with thought about Protein World’s latest advert and the controversy surrounding it.
Yup, as I listened to the waves lazily lap at the shores in paradise; I was also greatly considering our latest body image crusade, and just in case you missed it, I’m talking about this-
This image has created a storm of publicity that Protein World couldn’t have hoped for in its wildest dreams. Whether you love the ad or hate it, it’s been causing a visceral response all over the country and beyond. So much so, that people gathered this past Saturday to protest its publicity and have it completely removed from sight. So what’s all the fuss about?
It started with a few people defacing the posters, their message? That all bodies are ready for the beach, irrespective of how closely they physically resemble the model in the photo. In theory, I agree. If you have a body and it is on the beach, then you have a beach body. However, I don’t agree that by protesting one kind of body you are doing much for the cause of body positivity.
That model, Renee Somerfield, actually looks like that. Protein World is adamant that they haven’t Photo Shopped her image, and if you Google her, you’ll see that they haven’t. She’s a fitness fanatic, a vegan and has a gorgeous, healthy body. How is Protein World, by using Somerfield’s image telling the rest of us we can’t go to the beach?
Ladies, I can tell you from a whole week of field observation in Runaway Bay, JA that no one has let this single advert dictate their right to frolic in the sand. Literally no one, in fact I knew all about these adverts, and the big image you see at the top of this article is my very ready beach body.
In addition to myself, there were women of all shapes, sizes, colours and textures in bikinis, one-pieces, tankinis, thongs and everything in-between. On the beach, no one is worried about this one company’s poster, so what’s the big deal?
Showing one singular idea of what’s beautiful doesn’t render all other ideas obsolete. It’s an ad, nothing more, but we women are giving it so much power. This ad doesn’t say ‘you are not good enough.’ This ad doesn’t say ‘if you don’t look like this, you can’t be on the beach.’ This is a fitness company using a fitness model to promote a fitness product. It is not a personal attack on the rest of us, who let’s be honest, will need more than a protein shake to look anything like her.
Protein World has now been informed that their posters will be removed country-wide, but I have to wonder if this kind of censorship is healthy. I support the right of every woman to have the body she wants, and I totally agree that society shouldn’t dictate what the ideal body is, because that is not a universal aspiration.
However, by protesting these advertisements, the women who are standing up for their right to love their body are actually taking away some of the love from the women in the world who look like Renee.
Let’s stop comparing and competing, so then these kinds of promotional stunts can’t affect us so much. We are not each other’s enemies. There’s plenty of room for all of us on the beach.