Just when you start to think the tide is turning against the era of companies brazenly exploiting women’s body image for profit, Weight Watchers launches a campaign that turns back the clock a few decades.While others in the wellbeing and image industries are slowly moving away from marketing efforts that focus on shaming women and exploiting subsequent feelings of inadequacy, the weight loss giant isn’t even trying to give lip service to being body positive. Instead, it’s gone straight to that most vulnerable place – the bedroom – with a message for women that if they’re feeling vulnerable getting naked with the lights on, it’s time to go on a diet. “I couldn’t stand the thought of him seeing all of me,” says one woman in the ad. Photo: Weight Watchers The message was sent out in a PR stunt with a “mood” lightbulb which, according to the accompanying copy, “is designed to give you a little boost in the bedroom .” Because apparently the key to great sex is hiding your body until you can fix it.
How many people thought this was an okay idea before it arrived on my desk as a piece of PR pic.twitter.com/7tH37yyqsS — Bridie Jabour October 14, 2016
In a video for the campaign, a woman confesses she and her partner never had sex naked “because I couldn’t stand the thought of him seeing all of me.”Another says “my insecurities were through the roof,” while a third woman says after having children her body didn’t look the same and it made her self conscious. According to these women, going on Weight Watchers was the silver bullet that solved all their bedroom problems: “If anything, I want sex more now than I ever have.”
Weight Watchers even commissioned a ‘Body Confidence Report’ which found 1 in 4 Australian women “have avoided sexual activity on at least one occasion, due to body self-consciousness.”Body shame and self-loathing are serious issues for women – and a report finding large numbers of women are avoiding sex because they feel self-conscious is concerning.But to tell women that a weight loss program is the answer to these deep, socially-engineered, psychological and cultural issues is unspeakably wrong. It tells women they are right to feel insecure and ashamed. That their bodies must first be fixed before they can expect to feel confident in them. The positive news is that women aren’t buying it. And they’re pissed off at this blatantly condescending and offensive message.
Weight Watchers Black campaign seems to involve marketing the idea fat ppl don’t have optimal sex lives & would if they lost weight— Asher Wolf October 14, 2016
What. The. Hell. Hey ‘weight watchers black’… Fail. EPIC FAIL! https://t.co/fZXzY3uZA6 — Jess Wilkie October 14, 2016
BEING INSECURE ABOUT YOUR NAKED BODY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WEIGHT someone needs to talk me down off this one tbh https://t.co/yj5KrgZpGK — satandrea October 18, 2016
We have a way to go, but it’s hard to argue the body positive movement that has gained traction in recent years isn’t making an impact on women: on our body image as individuals; but perhaps more significantly, on the marketing forces that inevitably shape our culture – our values, our aspirations, our anxieties.It’s clear the message has reached Weight Watchers in some form, though the point …