Friday 1 May 2015

Are You Beach Body Ready? : Protein World Ad | Lifestyle

Unless you’ve been living under a social media rock or simply don’t care; you would have heard about the recent uproar surrounding the Protein World “Beach-Body-Ready” Advert which has been seen plastered all around the London Underground.

Controversy has been sparked as many people believe the poster promotes negative body issues and is out of touch with the “real” women of the world. With an online petition to ban the poster and even a mass demonstration planned in Hyde Park it’s pretty difficult to not have an opinion or view point.

But this is where the lines are blurred in my mind. I’m neither totally against the poster or ignorant to the impact it could have on many women but thought it would be interesting to share some opinions and open the discussion and hear your points.

So here we go..

Okay firstly, as we all know there are long standing and existing issues surrounding the body images projected by the media, which have a huge impact on the young people (particularly women) today. With size zero becoming somewhat of a norm on catwalks and magazines – it is sure to have an impact on many young girls who feel a pressure to live up to this “perfect body” image. I get it, I really do. I myself will be scrolling through Instagram or twitter and see a woman with a flat stomach and abs and think “Maybe I should put this kinder Bueno down” and I know many others might feel the same. I understand many women feel the poster makes them feel inadequate and makes them wonder whether their love handles and jiggle should stay off the beach this summer because their body isn’t “ready”. I also understand that the image and the question combined can leave many women thinking they’re not good enough and can lead to a whole array of body confidence issues.

But I also think it’s important to remember and understand WHO Protein World are and WHO their target audience are. Protein World is a health and fitness company, aimed to help people lose them extra pounds, tone up and achieve their personal weight loss goals. Is this a bad thing? I personally don’t think so. Promoting fitness and health is a great thing. Somehow throwing women of size 24+ on billboards has become a more positive thing for young girls to see than toned abs. It’s okay to be fat and healthy? No. It’s okay to be confident. No certain body “style” should be promoted as more “real” or “accepted”.

I’m no Slim Jim but was in no way offended by the poster myself. Maybe some could argue it’s because I've become desensitized to these images. Maybe it’s just become a norm to see a 'skinny girl' on billboards. Or maybe it wasn’t the image that was most offensive and maybe the question “Are you beach body ready?” was more alarming to many people who are opposing to the poster.

Are you beach body ready?

Take that question in for a minute. Is it actually telling you, you have to be skinny to be beach body ready? It’s asking you. You could be size 24 and think you’re beach body ready then great your answer is yes. You could be a size 6 and think you are, then again the answer should be yes. If you are one of the women who is body confident and love the skin you’re in then that amazing and this poster wasn't aimed at you because you clearly don’t need or want the shakes. But if your answer was no then Protein World are trying to say “we are here to help you if you want to look like this chick.” But many girls may view this poster and wonder whether they have to look like the girl in the image to be ready for the beach. I feel the poster is positive as it could empower people to kick start their healthy lifestyle and get in shape but can also leave a negative impact on females who are already struggling with body confidence. 

Do Protein World really care about the negatives though? From viewing their social media comments and actions I don’t think so, but they’ve got to pay the bills and build their brand. And this controversy most definitely has helped do that.

Should gyms use people with more junk in their trunk to promote membership? Should a hair growth product use a bald guy to advertise how great they are? Should a lazer eye surgery clinic use a woman in glasses to show the results? Protein World knew what they were doing, who their target audience were and the poster suited the brand.

And then the argument of the fact the woman doesn’t represent “real” women comes into debate. To me this is absolute nonsense. So you can only be a real woman if you’re fat or chubby? I’ve seen plenty of “real” women who have a physique like the model in the poster. Are they not real women? How has fit-shaming become an automatic response to fat-shaming?  I do agree advertisers and companies do need to show a range of women of all sizes, races and ages across their campaigns but was the woman used in this image wrong for the brand? No. This is what their whole company is about and I think that's what people are forgetting.

Put it this way. You walk past a beauty salon. They have an offer in the window. “50% of all waxing for the summer.”  OR “Get beach ready legs for your summer holiday”. Are they now saying all you women who prefer to go Au Natural are any less “summer ready” than women who wax? Should they promote the “realness” of women to let it all hang out. Of course not, they are selling a service/product and this is how they make their money.

I'm not trying to belittle the impact the constant images of “skinny” models can have on mental health and body confidence issues. This is a REAL problem and something that must have an influence on the rising rate of eating disorders, it’s a larger issue which I do feel is at the forefront of the change many clothing brands are trying to make. I applauded that. Feeling confident in your own skin is something which should be promoted and many brands do this well. 

But for this particular brand and advertisement my final thoughts are the poster was relevant to what Protein World represents, yes I see why many women were offended but do I think the poster should be taken down? Nope.

Side note: Where the male equivalent advert at?

I would love to hear your thoughts surrounding the Protein World advert. Do you support the poster or are you against it? Will you be signing the online petition against it? If so, why?

Drop a comment below.


  1. I couldn't agree more with your post. I don't find the advert offensive in anyway. I also don't see the harm in encouraging women to get active and be the best they can be. The advert doesn't say 'you can't go on the beach if you don't look like this.'
    If you take the stance that this advert is offensive are you then also going to be offended by every other swimwear/underwear advert that show attractive slim women in them? I think it's been taken a little too seriously. In a world where we are surrounded by images of slim women, why has this one advert triggered such outrage?
    I would most likely never have seen this advert if it wasn't for the amount of attention those against it have drawn to it!
    Blimey, rant over :) x x

  2. Another great post from you Aarti. I really enjoyed this one and I do agree with your points x

  3. I love this post. I get so fed up with overweight people slating slim/fit people and that by posting pictures of women who are slim/toned you're apparently 'fat shaming'. I recently got slated on my facebook because I posted a status about my own weight loss and it was apparently offensive to people who can't lose weight very easily. Also people constantly posting that curvy/overweight/obese women are 'real' women makes me so mad! I was put off doing a post like this on my own blog but this has encouraged me to look into it more and maybe doing my own post aimed at body confidence in general and not just 'fat shaming' 'skinny shaming' so thank you =)

    Jadey |

  4. loved reading this post! in my mind this is a personal question to everyone who sees it asking them whether they think they are "beach body ready". The simpleness of the ad is probably what has caused so much controversy and I'm sure the company knew this would happen when they designed it this way. It does not say "get beach body ready" or "this person is beach body ready" they are simply trying to promote their brand and obviously if someone's answer in their head is 'no' then they'll probably think what is this brand and will it change that answer for me?
    Emily x


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