Special K is beginning to use “plus size” women in new cereal advertisements. I put quotations around “plus size” because I’m not at all convinced that these women qualify– “regular size” is more probably more apt. Like so much media that tries to be “body positive,” the new Special K campaign winds up sending totally mixed messages about body image.
The new ads feature women who aren’t professional models or actresses stepping up to a giant scale to be weighed, but instead of numbers they get positive messages like “wow” or “amazing.” They’re part of a UK campaign by Special to “change the way we think about weight loss this summer” by emphasizing benefits of losing weight other than numbers or sizes.
According to the Daily Mail, all the women featured have a body mass index of between 18.5 and 29, which is a gamut that runs from the low side of normal to overweight.
It’s cool to see fit, attractive and happy-looking models who aren’t 6 feet tall and rail thin. But labeling these women “plus size” and making a big deal about it pretty much undermines the message. I mean, seriously–imagine you’ve got an average build but are a bit body-conscious: How do you feel seeing an advertisement label someone who looks like you “plus size?” It’s no good.
I’d also like to suggest to Special K that next time they want to emphasize aspects of weight loss that aren’t numbers on a scale, it might help to feature women doing anything other than stepping onto a scale (even if that scale does broadcast affirming platitudes at them).
Photo: The Daily Mail