Tag Archives: weight

Special K

Special K

In class, we discussed several ads from Special K. There was an ad in a magazine which seemed contradictory to me.

However, I recently found this commercial which does exactly what the former advertisement failed to do. It shows women happy about their appearances. It makes every size of pants into a good adjective — rather than simply stating that size doesn’t matter. It has a woman refer to how she feels, rather than just how she looks. And at the end of the commercial, it restates “More than just a number”.

This commercial, though selling a product which is intended for weight loss(as said in other commercials), contrasts with their subtle focus on weight in their other advertisements. One ad, in Hesse-Biber’s book, shows an ad for Spoecial K, which has the tagline: ‘Big White Box. Smaller Blue jeans.’ which enforces the usual thin ideal portrayed in the media. However, this specific commercial manages to go against the idea that weight loss is the better idea (as Hesse-Biber states is the purpose in their other ad) and rather focuses on how the women feel. This ad shows that not every ad has to advocate weight loss, and can do so in a positive way.

Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy., and Sharlene Nagy. Hesse-Biber. “Selling the Body Beautifiul.” The Cult of Thinness. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. N. pag. Print.

How Should We Respond to Media?

As consumers, we’re bombarded with media that dictates our perception of society and normalcy. And within this mass of messages, we find many paradoxes in regard to our appearance and weight. Companies selling weight loss products, like Alli, play up slender body norms (Even the box has a slender shape!), yet food distributors like McDonald’s offer consumers XL sodas (Remember supersizes?). Susan Bordo observes in Unbearable Weight, “’Correct’ management of desire in [this] culture, requiring as it does a contradictory double-bind construction of personality, inevitably produces an unstable bulimic personality-type as its norm” (Bordo 187). Apart from weight, women are also shown a double standard; ads are digitally altered. The women represented in ads aren’t even real, yet the media normalizes them, so we are given the message we need to be like them. The media spreads a false and impossible standard of “normalcy.” The best response to this could be education and awareness. Dove has taken steps toward awareness with their Real Beauty campaign; here’s one of their commercials:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

I think awareness of the truth and motives behind media is important. We need to remember that we live in a capitalist society, and that companies disregard our well-being at the chance to make money.

Work Cited

Bordo, Susan. Unbearable Weight. Berkeley: University of CA Press, 1993.

Why Do We Care About The Number On The Scale?

Society has consistently had a fascination with weight. Whether the fascination be that the weight is too high or too low can change, but weight is a constant factor in how society perceives a person. Fat has become a modern disease, a condition of ugliness in contrast to the condition of beauty that is thinness (Wann ix). When did weight become the defining factor in how a person is treated in life?

Women and men everywhere are treated differently because their weight is not congruent with what society thinks is the norm: they are discriminated against, under paid, and less respected. In the job market, “fat women earn nearly 7000 dollars less than thinner women” and a worker might even be fired because their weight is a problem for the employer (Wann xix).

Slenderness has become the “contemporary ideal of specifically female attractiveness”, an ideal that is irrational and limiting to any person (Bordo 205). But a person is so much more than their weight; he or she is who they are because of their “gestures, voice, opinions, expressions, clothes, surrounding, and tastes”- things that cannot be defined by an arbitrary number that has no true meaning other than that which we as society give it (Berger 37).  A BMI does not make a person good or bad, a scale should not incite fear and panic, and a person should be able to walk through the streets without getting strange glances or faces because of what shape they may be.

For I am Fatacus, and I am proud.

 

Berger, John. “From Ways of Seeing.” Trans. Array The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. New York: Routledge, 2003. 37-39. Print.

Bordo, Susan. “Reading the Slender Body.” Unbearable Weight. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. 185-212. Print.

Wann, Marilyn. “Foreward: Fat Studies: An Invitation to Revolution.” The Fat Studies Reader. By Esther D. Rothblum. New York: New York UP, 2009. Ix-Xxii. Print