By Emily Singerhouse, written as part of a media literacy curriculum at Inver Hills Community College
This is an image of a woman in a bikini standing next to a text that says, “Are you beach body ready?” The ad was distributed by Protein World- a meal replacement and dietary supplement company. They promote a “healthy lifestyle” and using the products they produce to help consumers lose weight.
The ad is designed to focus your attention to the model, who appears to be airbrushed. She is wearing a yellow bikini, drawing your eyes directly to her body. The photo indicates we should get ready to have a bikini body. It seems Protein World made this advertisement to make people feel as if their bodies aren’t “ready for bikini season,” luring them into their campaign. Protein World made this advertisement to catch the eyes of society in order to make them wonder if their bodies aren’t ‘ready for bikini season’ which could make them want to try their products.
However, perhaps the model felt as if she had to be a certain way to be ‘beach body ready’. She has a sad, mysterious face in the advertisement. It looks as if she doesn’t want to do it, but as if she has to be ready for the beach. Having a negative body image can cause stresses in any person’s life. The image she is portraying refers to the myth of gender and the overt sexualizing of women. It is designed to get our attention for how revealing the model is. Negative body image comes in different perspectives—both in front and behind the camera.
This sales tactic is unfortunately paired with the negative portrayal of women’s bodies and is being largely criticized. Protein World first posted this ad in the United Kingdom (UK) and received many complaints that they should be banned because it promotes a negative body image. Women in the UK spoke out against the dietary advertisement. Everybody’s body is “beach body ready”. There was a large uproar about the ad, for the words they used to catch the reader’s attention; it is considered body shaming. Using advertisements to sell the idea of not being “ready” to show their body off on the beach is wrong. After receiving complaints that it should be banned, the ad was recalled in the UK because it sells a negative body image.
Months later, this ad was posted in a New York City Subway Station. Not surprisingly, New Yorkers had similar reactions that resulted in backlash against the photo. However, instead of legal action to renounce the sign, groups have taken it into their own hands to reject the message the ad sends. Notes of “oppresses women,” and “everyone’s body is beach body ready” were posted over the New York Subway Station ad and captured on social media campaigns.
If you had the chance to write on the “beach body ready” sign in the New York City subway station, what would you write?