So what is the solution? Are we to protest and censor all advertisements for fitness and weight-loss products that show bikini-clad, conventionally attractive women?
Would the outcry over Protein World’s campaign have been so vociferous if the company had chosen a female bodybuilder as their model?
Likely not, since swelling muscles don’t represent a destructive feminine “ideal,” one that has altered men’s expectations of what “real” bodies look like and led women to compare themselves exhaustively to “unrealistic” beauty standards.
I imagine the women criticizing Protein World’s billboard campaigns would have cheered Lane Bryant’s recent “I’m No Angel” lingerie campaign in the U.S., which featured models with curvier, more “realistic” bodies compared to the ones we see in Victoria’s Secret ads.
A majority of women on social media whooped and applauded Lane Bryant for doing just that. But some criticized the brand for “skinny-shaming.” Others said its claim of representing “all women” was disingenuous because the campaign didn’t include trans and disabled women.