The fat-acceptance ad everyone should watch
“I was a target for people to make fun of and bash and I didn’t know what was so wrong with me,” says designer Ashley Nell Tipton in a new ‘fat acceptance’ ad by American department store, JCPenney.
Many of us are jaded enough by the commercialisation of everything, that even advertisements with an apparent social conscience are not easily swallowed.
Take the Dove Real Beauty campaign which turned ugly pretty quickly. Although the campaign using real women of different sizes and backgrounds was called a ‘game-changer’, consumers still felt manipulated because they were ultimately being sold a beauty product.
Occasionally, however there is a campaign that cuts through the cynicism.
The JCPenney ad, which has been viewed more than three million times in one month and may well face similar backlash as ‘Real Beauty’, appears to be one such ad.
— Kyra Sivertson (@Okbabyyt) July 20, 2016
“Fat or skinny, weight doesn’t define a person,” writes obesity specialist, Yoni Freedhoff. “Shocking how challenging it is to make that point. Kudos and thanks to JCPenney for making it so phenomenally well.”
In the ad various successful, overweight women discuss their challenges accepting themselves and being accepted by others.
“I remember when I was 10, I wanted to be a singer and a family member telling me ‘sorry kid, it’s not going to happen for you’,” recalls Grammy-nominated singer Mary Lambert.
“Would my life be better if I were thinner? No, but it would be better if I wasn’t treated so poorly because I’m not,” says best-selling author, Jes Baker.
Despite the judgement and “extremely ignorant” fat-shaming, the women in the clip say they have grown to find acceptance of themselves.
“My size is not an indicator of my worth,” Lambert says.
“The bodies don’t need to change, the attitude does… it’s up to us to change the narrative,” says another. “Fat girls can run, fat girls can dance, fat girls can have amazing jobs.”
Based on the comments on the video, some viewers still struggle with the concept that judging or “concern trolling” anyone for their external appearance is short-sighted and ignorant and that encouraging body hate is helpful to no one.
Others – JCPenney included – however thankfully get the point that health is far more complex than the way someone looks and that “when we start letting go of preconceived notions of who someone is based on what they look like on the outside, we all take one step closer to body positivity”.
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