It’s funny what some people find offensive.
A throwaway comment to one person can leave another in tears. And an advert showing a bronzed and beautiful bikini-clad woman can be ignored by some (yours truly, for example) and vilified by others (a majority of women in the UK it seems).
This week Protein World faced a huge backlash from their latest ad campaign, which asks: ‘Are you beach body ready?’
The message, alongside the image of a lithe young lady, has upset scores of women, a number of whom have taken to defacing offending billboards with ‘pro-women’ messages, the most popular being, ‘each bodys ready’.
To be honest, the fact most people have missed an apostrophe in their vandalism annoys me more than the image of the 23-year-old Aussie model. Because what’s really new here? Images we see on a daily basis, in magazines, shop windows and websites, depict an unattainable view of beauty. Anyone with a shred of intelligence knows 99 per cent have been photoshopped to within an inch of their skinny little lives. Is every celeb a size 6 and cellulite free? Of course not!
And it’s certainly not the first time a woman in a bikini has been used to sell, well, anything. But as far as I’m aware, it is the first time 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for removal of an ad, and the offending company have received a bomb threat.
So what’s the difference this time around? I read (because nobody in my circle of girlfriends seems to care too much either) that this ad in particular promotes an unhealthy body image, and makes women appear to be ‘a commodity.’
Not that the makers of the diet supplements seem to care much. ‘Why make your insecurities our problem?’ they asked on Twitter, responding ‘grow up’ to another complaint. Not too sensitive about the issue then. I kind of see their point. Who would buy a diet product from someone who already looked just like them?
And why is it different to the advert I’ve passed every day this week, showing a tanned and toned Australian gent sipping an ‘Up and Go’ breakfast drink through a straw. ‘Aussies suck’ it reads. A more clever play on words perhaps, but a young and perfectly formed body is still being used to flog the goods.
And have we heard any ladies complain about that one? I think not...