Beware of Body Shaming In The Media: Special K Contradictions

Posted By Kantorlaw || 29-May-2013

It starts off admirable, with a liberating message of self-love. Reading line by line, you feel empowered to ditch any lingering self-deprecation, you feel eager for (and entitled to) the approaching summer days of warmth and leisure. Special K's beautiful mantra of a "cover-up free summer" encourages body acceptance, self- love, and emphasizes the enjoyment of summer adventures without giving thought to body shape or size.

I will not panic when I see I've been tagged in a picture.

I will only use a towel to dry myself, not as clothing.

I will not move my towel to a less crowded area.

I will bend, sit and relax without feeling uncomfortable.

I will not run out of the ocean when nobody is looking.

I will go to a pool party and actually get into the pool.

Yeah! This is how summer should be. For everybody.

But, wait. Upon further examination, you will find the familiar Special K tagline "what will you gain when you lose?" Deceptively, Special K leads one to the bogus conclusion that confidence, lighthearted fun, and self-love can only be achieved after weight loss.

Special K is notorious for dieting products, so I know, I shouldn't be too surprised. Regrettably, this isn't the first time I've been fooled by a misleading Special K ad. There is an entire project dedicated to portraying self-esteem, confidence, and a uniqueness independent from weight. This campaign literally says: Nobody should be defined by a number. We believe we should choose a word -- a way we want to feel -- and let that be our motivation. Is a number inspiring? No!

This commercial is rather inspiring until you experience, in one swift confusing movement, their claim to promote beauty and self-love (at any size) actually only applies to those that are the "right" size. Everyone else can gain these qualities once they "lose."

Not a number, but the way we want to feel…beautiful. I couldn't agree more with this campaign statement. However, the contradiction and incongruity within this campaign are huge flaws. Wouldn't we all feel a little bit more beautiful and worthy without this confusing body shaming? Isn't it time that we reject the culture that encourages body disparagement, dieting, and fat-shaming? These ineffective strategies only enhance the widespread and oppressive nature of weight stigma.

Rather than encouraging a constant and unattainable change, our focus should be on feeling good in the bodies we have. For information on Body Positive living, visit and Health at Every Size.

Categories: Eating Disorders

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