I wrote this piece of opinion in a quick response to a conversation I 'over read' on Facebook. I then went to the gym, cooked a high protein lunch and thought this subject was too sensitive to, firstly comment on, then secondly, to not look into more view points or information. After doing the latter I decided that the subject was far more sensitive than for me not to comment on. Whether ten people bother to read this or a thousand. I believe the very discussion of such a subject is progression and therefore thought, why not, what a good debate to walk into. I felt like a kid in school with my hand up waiting for the teacher to pick me to speak... then I realised, ha this is 2015, this is the internet, I can say whatever I want whenever I want. But I hope to take responsibility in that and not just spout some shite about shite. I even spoke to one of my bestest friends on the subject. Her opinion had been similar to mine when she saw the ad... we then carried on talking and disagreed about some of the subject matter. We debated about the importance of NOT talking about it, or of the importance of throwing it all out there on blogs and social media. We discussed what the issue really was. A lot of us blow hot air, just wanting to be heard. Her argument was, do we really need there to be a media shit storm about it? My argument, was if there are people going home and questioning whether to be sick after seeing the poster, or questioning whether they can just by a pill, eat crap, not work out and 'get beach ready' then yes, there needs to be talk about it.
I saw the poster and I thought... 'fuck you poster' I thought, 'like I need anything else to make me feel pants about my body...' But I then also thought. 'Ha, as if taking whatever they are offering is gonna make me look like that woman, actually, do I want to?' Shes gorg, but that is subjective.
Objectification-To degrade to the status of a mere object.
In my opinion, this is not a feminist issue. It is a human one. For me this is not about if this women was objectified, or who objectified her. For me this issue is not about her body, whether she looks beach ready, is beach ready, feels it or not, it's about advertising that taking slimming pills could make you look like this woman. My resistance to it, as a trainer myself, is implying that you don't need to work hard, have good nutrition, or work out your mental thought processes on getting beach ready... but, the whole campaign itself brings up far more than just this, as I have discussed further below.
If you're in a bikini with your bag packed and YOU feel comfy in a bikini... then go forth, you are in fact. Beach body ready. Despite not feeling this to be a feminist issue as such, I do believe if a woman had come up with this campaign she would have perhaps put a picture of a woman packing a picnic bag of snacks (healthy and not) grabbing a book off the shelf and checking to see if her bikini line was done. What are most objecting to in this poster? That as a woman, we have been rendered just a mere object in this campaign. Is it that we have been rendered a mere object by someone who does not understand what it is like to be a woman? By a corporation that is relying on our weaknesses? Is it that that is one corporation's opinion of what beach body ready is, and we feel we don't have a choice on the matter. THIS IS BEACH BODY READY it says... Does it?
As a woman, I want to go down to the beach and not think about my wobble when I run towards the waves. I want to pick out a costume that 'I' think is pretty/sexy/nice. I want to feel good even when my muffin top bulges slightly in the bikini bottoms. I want to feel comfy in my skin even when my waist is not like Marylins, my thighs are not like Beyonces, my boobs not like Kate Moss's. I do not want to care! I want to be the sort of woman that sees that campaign and does not buy into the fact that I will look like that woman (gorgeous or not, whatever your opinion may be) if I go down to Protein World. As a woman, I want to own my sexiness. I want to stand there sexy as hell and say 'I made this... I created this sexy beast of a WOman and here I am. How did I create her you all ask? Well I woke up this morning and thought to myself, I am dam sexy. I put on a bikini and I went to the beach. That wobble you see, the cellulite that ripples in the midday sun, these saggy, small boobies and this round bottom that I was graced with, this hairy belly button, these lean arms, all of it... Its sexy. Because I said so.'
The difficult thing is that as women in a culture of this sort of advertising, Insta hotness at the quick scroll or a button, magazines with toit, subjectively beautiful women on the front, we have over the years become accustomed to thinking that's what we should look like, therefore that's what we want to look like. Why do we want to look like it? Is the question I want to ask myself. Do I want to look like that because that is what is'attractive'? To who? For who? Do I want to look like J lo because 'I' want to look like J Lo, or is it because men find J Lo attractive and I want men to think I am attractive? Do I want to look like Kylie Jenner because 'other girls' think Kylie Jenner is hawwwt, therefore I want other girls to think I am haawt too. Surely, it has to be a question we answer for ourselves, by ourselves. No poster should be asking if we are ready and insinuating that looking like that is ready? But no human should believe that what someone else is saying is ready, means we are ready? When someone else tells me, go on, your ready to jump out of a plane (with a parachute)... I know for a fact, that I will only be ready, when I feel ready. Not because someone else has told me I am.
For me and my own body issues, stated in past posts, are a state of mind. Certain things enforce the thought processes that have bought about these issues. But for me, I don't believe we can live in a world where we can ban everything we don't like. I don't like computer games, I think they affect society in a negative way, are they gonna ban advertising them? I doubt it very much. I take issue in the same way to a poster that says... "Are you gonna have fun this summer?"... and the poster shows loads of 'cool' people at a festival having what looks like 'the time of their lives' in new clothes that the advert is advertising...for me, here I am, on the underground, heading to a bar job that will not earn me enough money to afford such new clothes to give me the 'time of my life' and I think... hold on... will those new clothes give me that fun? And is that the only way to have fun? As a friend said, advertising is subjective. I know for a fact that this 'good time' is someone else's worst nightmare. They do not buy into such advertising. So here I am, Loving new clothes, thinking that the only way for me to have a good time is if I take a snap shot of this image of me in said clothes and post it on insta. Do we ban all campaigns, all Insta pics, that may cause us to attach to a thought process, that may emotionally negatively impact on our lives? How far do we go? For me the thought is the seed and the campaign is the watering of that seed. My wish is to take that seed away. I'm not saying my idea is realistic nor practical, I am not in fact saying I have all the answers and I am firmly saying the less watering the better. Gosh my analogies are good -_-
My stance is that I want to educate my children. I want to not only educate, but to make them aware. I want them to be able to discuss it, I want them to be able to articulate what said poster makes them feel like, I want them to be aware of there own thoughts that are created by such a campaign and freely be able to speak about it, without the back lash of people telling them they are silly to think those things. Insecure to think those things, weak to think those things. In voicing them feelings, they show vulnerability and in no way is vulnerability weak. Perhaps if we were all a bunch of much more aware, concious, zen humans that were educated enough, knowledgeable enough, open enough, to think 'Protein World products will not make me look like that' and also 'That is only their perception of Beach body ready' then that is the place to get to, to work on. In the a same way I don't think Kim Kardashian should be banned (from life I guess) I'd rather just educate my child on what she does, what she has done to get there, explain the shit bits of her 'business' Discuss it. Discuss what it means, who she is, what her daily struggle may be. (Of course she has struggles people she is human, don't be mean) But discuss it, have humour about it. Always. And discussing it with my kids as a parent won't be enough. My mum was the best at instilling self worth in me. At not letting me believe skinny, conventional looking people were worth more? Valued more? I truly believed that. I had it instilled in me. I was worth just as much as my pretty friend with blonde hair and a fringe. But as I said previously, something along the way changed this thought process. I do not believe it to be posters or magazines. Solely. They do not help, no. They don't help a society that is always trying to fill voids, belong, feel self worth. But other than my mum, no one else was discussing self worth with me. I had a life-skills class once a week and I do not recall one discussion about insecurities, worth, vulnerability, value, courage, self expression, feminism, equality.
I learnt how to put a tampon in and that was about it.
So I think it's great there is discussion about this advert because it means we are all talking about it. (although drawing attention to the product itself, and reaching far more people than it in fact would have done.-Dam it, maybe that was the whole point) But in discussing it, whether we agree with the campaign or not, means we are more aware of this issue... We are asking the question, what does this really mean for humans? Who are we as a culture? Where do we go from here? Because for me, when I'm at the beach I'm not wishing I took protein world supplements to look like her... because I don't want to look like her. I have image after image of fit women on my Pinterest who will not be someone elses ideal. But when I pin them, deep deep down in my subconscious. Perhaps, maybe, I am drawn to these bodies, not because society tells me they are HOT, but because, after seeing a fun, free spirited girl in a thong bikini on a holiday when I was 14, gives me the subconscious expectation of that when I see these 'particular' bodies. Its a FEELING perhaps I want to recreate. A thought. I want to FEEL beach body ready like that girl looked. I get the exact same feeling when I see Lena Dunham stand in her bikini for a whole episode of 'Girls' I want that feeling there. But why do i not have pictures of Lena Dunhams body pinned all over my boards? That is still a question I am asking myself, something I feel slightly embarressed about, that is one of the reasons I want to discuss all of this. But I am not going to NOT go to the gym in defence of 'protesting against this whole dam thing'.
Feminism, as Caitlin Moran quoted is, "having a vagina and being in charge of it". If I want to eat healthy, work out, get Beach body ready, be lean, I bloody can! But I will have to do a lot more than taking protein, that in which I do... I go to the gym, I lift weights, I limit my processed carbs, my booze, I take supplements. Not because I think then I will finally be ready, or I will finally look how others want me to look. I will feel better (for me) but I will be assured my worth isn't in the balance of abs like cement, buns like steel and a thigh gap as big as the Grand Canyon.
I am, in all sense and purposes, beach body ready. According to my friends, my boyfriend, even to the mirror, in the right shaped bikini, in good lighting after a day of not scoffing CAKE. I am ready! But my head is not... They should put a brain up there and advertise some therapy, or hypnosis, or group discussions or meditation and then ask the bloody question. I have been a stone heavier than I am and felt it, and I have been a stone lighter, and felt it. I was beach body ready when I was 10, and we all know that I didn't look like that poster then.(nor should I have done)
I'll buy into advertising that I want to buy into. We are objectified. We objectify ourselves when we doll ourselves up and hope we get chatted up by the fit guy at the bar no? It's an issue. But I hope to teach our kids self worth rather than 'only' trying to convince PR/advertising companies to stop what they do. Lets start with our own selves for the change we want. Advertising is strong, but for me the idea is to evolve as humans rather than as a little piece of society in time. You ban beach body ready posters? You gotta ban that advert for fishfingers, or the Cocacola ads with the supposedly hot man, or you gotta ban Rhianna dancing half naked in her vids. The issue is huge. It's deep. But as women as a human, it's OK to want to look like that, it's also OK to not want to look like that. Surely what actually matters is that we know quick fixes do not work and that really it's about how you feel inside. So if you look like that but still feel like the chubby kid not getting kissed in kiss chase, and that makes me feel worthless, then I know and am very aware that my issues lie deeper than in a protein world advert.
This is me being beach body ready and sexy because I say I am.
When we blame, we give away our power.
What you give power to, has power over you.