Slimfast using normal size people

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There’s a new (to me, anyway) Slimfast commercial that uses normal-sized people to promote its product.   Some of these people are simply “real-life slim” as opposed to model slim; others are well within their BMI zone for healthy weight, but they just don’t conform to that model ideal of proportions.   We’re talking a bit of “extra” tummy or hip – and it’s amazing how fast that jumped out at me.

I am so conditioned to seeing stick women advertise products to me that my first though at this commercial was “That’s not a flattering outfit on her”.   It took me a couple of rewinds to realize it wasn’t the outfit; it was her body.   And her body was actually very good!   It just wasn’t the bone-thin proportions I’m used to.   It had a pleasing shape of its own, not the “clothes hanging off a hanger” look that all models must aspire to.

It’s quite humbling to realize how susceptible my animal brain is to that underweight ideal, even though my higher cortical functions have a much more well-adjusted view of the female body.

Am I as safe from negative body image messages as I think?

[Commercial not available online.]

Comments

  1. sbg says

    You stole my post idea!

    LOL, no really, I was going to make comment on this, except the first time I saw it I didn’t think the models looked bad in any way. I really like that they’re using average sized people.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    I didn’t think they looked “bad”. I wasn’t paying much attention to the ad and looked up to see someone dancing around and not looking bone-thin, and assumed the costuming people had screwed up, since no way would anyone hire a normal-sized person for a slimming product ad.

  3. sbg says

    Sorry, I just meant that the first thing I thought when I saw it was, “Finally, someone’s using people who might actually use the product!”

    My three 11 year old nephews, on the other hand, thought (and said, “Geez, they’re all fat!”

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    No need to say “sorry” – I just wanted to clarify what I hadn’t explained well in the post.

    About your nephews, though – that’s what worries me: my reaction was sadly close to theirs! I’m supposed to know better. Not just in my intellect, but instinctively. My animal brain should know that women’s bodies store fat efficiently (for feeding fetuses and nursing infants) and there is nothing wrong or inherently ugly about any weight that’s below the threshold where health problems begin.

    Now I’m looking back and thinking: I’ve been “overweight” since I was 11. But when I was 11, even doctors were using a scale that was closer to Calvin Klein’s idea of what a woman should look like than science’s idea of a healthy weight. I probably have been slim at a couple of points (I was 114-117 for several years), but always thought I was fat because I couldn’t pass for a coat hanger with a face.

    I dunno, it’s all just really making me think.

  5. scarlett says

    Ugh, reminds me of an argument I had with my ex and his father about Kirstie Alley looking fat in one of her Jenny Craig ads, where I saw someone who was toned, healthy and wearing suitable clothes…

  6. MaggieCat says

    There’s been a SlimFast commercial running here for probably a year that has has one woman dancing around in a bright red dress, and it still catches my attention every single time. She probably ‘technically’ counts as overweight (I regard all of those classifications with extreme distrust since my “ideal” weight had people concerned I was anorexic) but that woman looks fabulous.

    I also covet that dress, but it’s mostly that there’s a normal sized person being treated as gorgeous. ;-)

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    Er, it wasn’t at all clear what that had to do with KA… I was thinking that for a woman to declare herself attractive without meeting the coat-hanger beauty standard must be especially galling to men, who are used to being her judge, jury and executioner when it comes to determining whether she’s attractive or not.

  8. scarlett says

    No, I got you… that anyone who dared to say ‘I’m overweight and I’m gorgeous’ should be sidelined for being ‘fat’.

  9. MaggieCat says

    Yeah, it’s another part of the message that a lot of people try to get women to buy into: your opinion of yourself doesn’t matter, THEIR opinion of you is the only one that counts. Because obviously no one is qualified to determine their own attractiveness and worth. Think of the unchecked self esteem that would be flying around… anarchy. ;-)

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