Ad Critique: Ashley Madison

There is a lovely woman by the name of Jackie who is both an avid feminist, fat activist, and softcore porn model/web model.  Her picture was taken without her permission and used in an Ashley Madison ad displayed below:


Aside from this image being used without Jackie’s permission, and the gross concept that is Ashley Madison, this is a horrific example of fat shaming.  It is directly implying that because “your wife” is fat, that she is automatically scary and undesirable.  The implications of this are that the affair one would be having would be with a thin, desirable, attractive woman.  The fact that this ad was placed in such a prominent place, the Wall Street Journal, shows just how pervasive fat shaming is in society and how fat is a body type that is deemed universally undesirable.  While Jackie’s mere profession shows this to be directly false, it adds to the stigma around being a woman and being fat. This is analyzed very closely in the Marilyn Wann reading, the Fat Studies Reader in which Wann outlines the stigma around being fat.  Fat bodies are both sexualized and desexualized at once.  In this advertisement, she is clearly in a sexual pose, but simply for the purposes of being desexualized. Fat bodies are often sexualized as a joke to contrast with the “very obviously” better and more attractive thin bodies.


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