blogging gobbledygook and such

Would you be a model or actor in an advertisement that connotes fat is bad, when you’re doing plus-size modelling as an occupation?

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Spoofing Life is Beautiful American Beauty

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Spoofing Basic Instinct

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Spoofing Some Like It Hot The Seven-Year Itch (Ish, nobody bothered to correct this also, am sure you’re having a laugh for not knowing the classics ๐Ÿ˜• )

These models look like plus-size models. Yet they’re appearing in an advertisement that does not celebrate their bodies. It is a Brazilian advertisement for a low-fat yoghurt brand. Its tagline says:

Forget about it. Menโ€™s preference will never change. Fit Light Yogurt.

The tagline suggests that fat is not what men want. Fat therefore is bad. Fat therefore is not something women should aspire to be. Therefore women should eat something that’s not high in fat so they won’t be fat.

Could be wrong about the models being plus-size models, but the question remains. Would you represent something whose ideals are the opposite of yours?

This isn’t like a fat woman who appears with a ‘before’ and ‘after’ picture in a slimming centre advertisement. That fat woman believes that she shouldn’t stay fat and she has done something about the situation. These ads are suggesting fat is bad. These models are fat. Why do they want to appear in an advertisement that disapproves of what they are then?

It’ll be like if you’re naturally skinny and have been offered to model in an advertisement of a milkshake that promotes weight gain so you wouldn’t be stick-thin. If you’re fine being skinny, why would you represent something that thinks you’re not fine for being skinny?

Do we have to compromise our beliefs to earn a living? More importantly, is it okay? Does it lessen our beliefs by doing so?

Comments on: "Is it okay to compromise our beliefs to earn a living?" (20)

  1. First up, you say Life is Beautiful and mean American Beauty.

    Secondly. No, I could never compromise my beliefs for an advert, but then…I imagine none of these women were entirely given the choice. They presumably work for an agency, got offered a shoot (that was no doubt great fun) and absolutely no editorial control. Hell, the tag line might not have been chosen until after the shoot was finished.
    I don’t think it’s an industry it’s easy to remain ethical in. Advertising generally involves deception, stereotyping and reinforcement of insecurity. It’s pretty disturbing really.

    Anyway, what strikes me about these images, particularly the top one, is just how appealing they are. It’s big girls having fun, and they still look good (less so in the middle one, but mostly because it’s not exactly a flattering pose). The Observer recently did a photo shoot of plus size women, and ran an article about how shocking and sexual they were. It actually really pissed me off, because the photos weren’t particularly shocking, and weren’t overtly sexual. Sure there was a lot of flesh on display, but they were just the same as other photos of semi clad women. Just because a woman is bigger, doesn’t make her distinctly different, it just means she looks a bit bigger. People are so obssessed with body image and the media just drags it out all the time.

    I recently got into an argument with a friend who was impressed with the way that the celebrity magazines were starting to attack female celebrities for being to skinny, and encouraging more realistic figures as being the sexual ideal. I pointed out that while that was a small step forward, it was still a situation in which the ONLY focus was upon the physical. The celebrities are almost always reduced to body type, with no thought about talent, abilities, life experience or whatever it is they do. And this is in media outlets aimed almost exclusively at women. The resounding message is that what is important in a woman is how she looks and nothing else.

    Gah….sorry for ranting…I’m obviously a bit touchy right now.

    sulz: whoops! thanks for the heads-up, will edit after replying pronto.

    you’re right about the second bit, which is very unfortunate because those models may have not agreed to do it had they known exactly how the advertisement would turn out. it’s quite scary the way media shapes the perceptions of the masses about fat people, as you’ve just elaborated, to the point that one wonders if the fat-phobic people were influenced by the media (not that they’d ever admit or realise that) or if they influenced the media. and it’s quite tiring to hear these camp of people using the health excuse, when it’s a question of looks instead of health.

    thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. The health thing is weird…it’s one of those odd moral high grounds that comes up again and again and again. Like in smoking and stuff like that. And surely if you aren’t harming others then it’s a personal choice.

    But yeah….I’m pretty sure the cultural pressure to achieve unreal ideals causes more health and eating problems than it helps. Particularly when eating can become a coping tactic.

    And the point is that the whole media hype is just a way to market to people, to create niches for these diet products (not always healthier by most standards, just styled to reduce one particular thing and then promote that).
    And it all works to reduce women to little more than their figures. All worth is reduced to physicality, and to not fit into that is to be out of the ordinary..freakish and weird (and this is even in the Observer, a supposedly open minded left wing publication). Despite the fact that it’s much closer to the norm.

    So yeah…those particular adverts are a failure, because all I see is some film shots made with people more real than the original shots. I guess in American Beauty it wouldn’t have made sense because she would no longer be the stereotypical, almost barbie doll picture of unreal normality that the character is supposed to represent…but she’s certainly still a desirable being.

    Still reduced to nothing more than a desirable being.

    The other problem remaining? The ad will work on the people it is targeting…the insecure. A whole industry devoted to promoting insecurity and profiting from it.

    Yeah…I’m definitely touchy today.

    sulz: smoking does harm other people, what with the secondary smoke (through frequent exposure) and all. as for fat, it doesn’t harm anyone physically, but it could affect loved ones emotionally because some fat people do face major health issues. the sneaky part is that some people use this card in an attempt to make people lose weight, when their objective is to make people look better rather than be healthier.

    am against all the obsession about looks in the media, yet at the same time am concerned about own looks. is that simply a personal concern, or is it a personal concern fed by the media’s subliminal ways?

  3. First things first, if the model in the first picture was the slim and hot kind, I wouldn’t have read the rest of the post. But since she isn’t, it’s your lucky day that I now have read the entire thing.

    Your question is very valid I must say. My brain says that these women did it only for money. In this dirty game, who cares about ideals except a few people like you and I? And I even think if I was a fat model and got a lot of money for doing such an advertisement, I would’ve gone ahead. Money hungry loser me is and probably they are too ๐Ÿ˜›

    sulz: wait, are you not a guy? you wouldn’t have stop to read if have posted hot-looking girls? and does that mean fat girls ain’t hot? -_- some are!

    the problem with a situation like this, if you went ahead and did it you’d feel like you’ve sold your credibility (not professionally but yourself as a person shaped by your views and beliefs) but if you didn’t, you’d kick yourself in the arse because it’s a hell lot of money (let’s assume) and you just gave it to some other fat chick who doesn’t have such moral qualms.

    the money would have probably won, anyway. sad, isn’t it?

  4. Yea, money would have easily won. Values and all seem to be invalid in today’s world.

    sulz: it’s just that money offers instant gratification while values is like… currency for the afterlife when we meet our maker, hence delayed gratification.

  5. It gets even more complex if you don’t rely on an afterlife evening (things being evened out…not like..you know…after the afternoon (the long dark tea time etc)). I read a book on Buddhism, that talked about the way that part of karma was the idea that every negative choice you made would have negative impacts on the world around you, and the same for positive. This has two consequences…the first is that when you come back (or even later in life) if you’ve made good choices then the world will be better, or bad choices will make the world worse. The other is slightly more threatening. The idea that as you die (or maybe just after) you experience all the effects you’ve had on other people. Like the life flashing before your eyes, only it’s not just your life…it’s every life you’ve touched in any way…and how they percieved it…not how you percieved it.

    Now that’s a pretty strong incentive.

    I try to take moral responsibility for my own actions as much as possible, try to think on the impact I’d have on the world. If I was a plus size woman then I could perhaps justify being in those ads, as it wouldn’t make the world any different, it would all just be business as usual.

    I don’t think I would however. If I was fully aware of what the final ads were focussed on, then I’d definitely refused (and to be honest…I probably wouldn’t be a model in the first place…unless I ran the modelling agency in question).

    But then, in smaller ways…I feel I’ve sold out already. I work a job that doesn’t quite live up to my ethical standards (little recycling, selling produce that I consider boycotted, and generally profiting from (admittedly mild forms of) addiction).

    Now, in fact, all I’m doing is allowing people to make their own choices…so that’s not so bad…but yeah. It bothers me.

    But then, that job only gets me a little bit up the pyramid. If my shelter and food and security was all sorted out, then maybe I’d feel I had more choice.

    As for your own concern with self image. It’s complicated. It depends how much you’re striving for a media created body image, and how much for your own ideal. And obviously the two will have communicated at some point. Obviously there’s nothing inherently wrong with seeking out a fitter, healthier figure. And if you want to be slimmer or bigger, then that’s a personal choice. It’s only when it starts to interfere with health or lifestyle…and included in health is psychological aspects. I mean…if you’re constantly pursuing something you aren’t, then you’re only going to encourage yourself to be unhappy with yourself about everything else as well.

    As a man, it’s different. I feel less pressure from the media. I still have low self esteem though. I just don’t feel as much pressure to change myself. Now maybe that’s underlying security, but I suspect it may be rarely feeling as objectified.
    Though I know I don’t live up to media definitions of masculinity in general. It’s just that they are much less reliant on appearance and body type.

    My body…I don’t like my beer belly (at least…I don’t like the way it appears to others….I actually think it’s quite cute) but I think I’ve got good hips, ass, eyes and legs.

    Like I say though…the media doesn’t go to such lengths to convince me that my body shape is what defines me. So maybe I’ve got more room for confidence.

    If it’s not there it’s more my fault.
    Maybe.

    Anyway, sorry for hijacking all this a little bit. It’s definitely getting my Goat.

    sulz: am fine with your lengthy comments, it definitely adds to the post besides – though one would think you might want to save this for your own blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    your explanation on karma is quite scary, especially since am a believer of it in the general sense!

    that’s why am not going down the slimming road just yet. have yet to figure out if self’s desire to be thinner is because of society pressure, or if it’s really for health reasons, or if it what self truly desire, or if it’s simply a case of not having many clothes in self’s size available at the moment. -_-

    yes, the guys sure have it good when it comes to media pressure to look good. the ugliest of man can appear in the media, but they can talk about his abilities, his philanthropy, his whatever without mentioning a thing about his looks. mr bean at one time was even considered sexy! ๐Ÿ˜•

  6. I have never met any individual, that if I had time to get to know them, whom I did not feel had soldout some part of their person, big or small, to get ahead in life. Perhaps it is the constant realist/cynic fight inside my head, but I am not sure people can survive without giving up parts of themselves if they are to continue to exist in a world filled with so much diametrically opposed thinking about existence. Pick an issue and you may get as many different responses as people who respond. (If you can even get people willing to respond and expose their thinking on an issue! I think that blogging on the Internet has made at least a small dent in getting people to offer up personal insight.) Some will respond more vehemently than others and some will walk down similar paths of belief. Some will even bond with those they radically oppose at times i.e. โ€œthe enemy of my enemy is my friendโ€ (at least on a temporary basis). Even the rich and superrich sellout and they do not have to worry about where they are going to get the money to put shoes on juniors feet. It is easy to talk, make speeches and even convince yourself you are doing the right thing for the right reasons. Nor am I saying it is correct to act in that manner. I am just saying it is a fact of life. I am also sure that there will be a price to pay for the averted discretionary integrity, both in life and the afterlife.

    sulz: looking at the bigger picture, you’re right as it is impossible to keep your beliefs as you’ve explained. so that does answer the question if it’s okay to compromise our beliefs to earn a living.

    many people don’t realise they’re doing it though. not that realising helps make it any better! or does it?

  7. Personally, I would never model (not that I model) for something that compromised my personal beliefs. I feel that those models are beautiful, even if they don’t necessarily fit into Hollywood’s standard of beauty. I actually think it’s said that they put their pretty faces out there for a product that is directly marketing against women who look like they do.

    These women obviously have no qualms about being called fat and being used as an example of what people DON’T want to look like. I think that may say something about how they feel about themselves.

    sulz: in this case, if am in the knowledge of what the ad would be like, then yes would agree with you. other commenters have speculated with self that they may not have known the way the ad turned out, which could mean that they may not have wanted to model had they known exactly how the ad would be like.

    but if they did know and still went ahead, it is a shame. but it is understandable. does their action say something about how they feel about themselves? don’t know. mean, they look like plus-size models, so they should already have accepted their fat as part of their beauty?

  8. Lol, I dont even think those so called models are fat, that looks like photoshop to me. Why spend so much money on getting the right kind of girl, when they can take any girl and do the effects in the computer.

    But that aside, it is man’s survival necessities that make them take decisions that compromise their values or beliefs.

    sulz: that could very well be, if all the plus-size models refused to do it! but then again, would the slimmer models do it knowing they’d be inflated to look as if they’re fat?

    not only for reasons of survival, it could also be considered stupid if you passed up a good-paying gig just to uphold your principles. but guess it depends how high you place your principles in life. mean, this could be an argument about prostitution too, couldn’t it? except that prostitution is considered more demeaning and outrageous than a fat model appearing in an ad that mocks her fat.

  9. i actually modelled a few times, and was shortlisted for some covergirl thing. let me tell you first of all, modelling is a very cruel industry and even with amateurs it was rather vicious! everybody was constantly slagging everybody else off and eating as little as possible and pinching non-existent fat bits while bemoaning their ‘fatness’.

    i hated every minute of it and will never do it again.

    but i digress.

    i think your post is awesome because it made me think of a lot of things too. i’m a bit of an idealist meself, and like to think that i can stand up for what i believe in. but as a wannabe journalist in a authoritarian press country, the only way to do something i love doing would be to, as you put it, compromise my beliefs, though i would argue it’s about toeing the line and reaching a middle point. in the real world as a fresh grad trying to make some money to pay off your mountain of debts, it’s not easy to turn a job down because it clashes with your personal ethics. sometimes you have to clench your teeth and go with the flow, no matter how much it sucks.

    i’m not saying everyone should be a wuss and follow orders, just to take a step back and assess the situation properly. realistically speaking, it’s quite unwise to be up on one’s moral high horse all the time to forsake money. same could be applied to all other fields: modelling, law, business.

    sad, but true. this doesn’t mean i’m compromising my beliefs though. i’m just trying to be smart about it, which perhaps, this lovely lady in the ads was trying to do ๐Ÿ™‚

    sulz: looking at your avatar, no surprises about your having modelled. ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for the compliment! you’ve pretty much covered why we’d compromise our beliefs for money, which may sound bad by phrasing it that way but at the end of the day, money we need for survival, morals not so (which is why we see such lawlessness in our country despite the so-called laws now don’t we?).

    those plus-size models could very well be, but they should be prepared to take the flak for seemingly selling out. after all, it does seem that way to an extent; it’s only when you think deeper and longer about the situation that you see it’s really not about selling out, but being smart about it as you’ve said.

  10. I wouldn’t sell my own ideals just to get money but say if it were a lot of money, I would be tempted.

    Like some of the commentators here, I think the models were told of ‘brief’ ideas of the shoot, to be sexy and happy but not told they were representing fat=bad=not attractive=not what men want.

    If they knew beforehand, then.. I guess when an idealist model is hungry (for work or food), can we fault her for doing so for her survival?

    sulz: tempted, but would your temptation win over in the end, or would you choose to uphold your principles?

    if we really think about it, our principles is like our own personal religion. if christians refuse to work on sundays because their religion forbids them to do so, should we hold our principles like followers hold their religion?

  11. So far, the benefits offered weren’t worth changing my principles :p But if I were tempted with A WHOLE LOT like maybe a few millions…

    Really? I didn’t know pious Christians have a rule about not working on Sunday!

    sulz: wah, your principles very expensive! ๐Ÿ˜›

    no la, that was just an example, though surely there are christians like that.

  12. I think those are awsome pix i’ve always been interested in plus size modeling but i have a tummy to lose and maybe some inches here and there but over all people and agencies say that I have mass potential and pix like these are my motivation to keep going! It’s a tough job representing real women(teens in my case!) but some one has to do it!
    Jay, 15

  13. Interesting paradox! I suspect that in the end the almighty dollar had a great bit to do with them surrendering their inhibitions.

    sulz: well, the dollar feeds the family; your principles don’t. everybody has a limit about how far would they go when it comes to upholding their principles, just that some have a lower limit than others due to circumstances and preferences. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. @sulz

    It’s no news to you to hear that I was a model for many years. I was not a skinny runway model but a photographer’s model. I was hired because I had “curves” and not because I lacked them so, I think I have a basis from which to give you some feedback.

    Let me clarify first that I worked under a legal contract and unless a photographer agreed the terms in MY contract I did not work for them.

    Your questions are:
    (1) Do we have to compromise our beliefs to earn a living?
    (2) More importantly, is it okay?
    (3) Does it lessen our beliefs by doing so?

    My answers are as we are not slaves, no one compels us to compromise our beliefs or, more importantly, to compromise our health to make a living.

    When it comes to beliefs – we are as fat as we choose to believe we are. And, we know that many obese people chose to believe they are thin just as many anorexics choose to believe they are fat.

    In your reply to Alabaster’s second comment you say in part:
    “… as for fat, it doesnโ€™t harm anyone physically”.

    There’s your belief system sulz. It appears to be based on a denial of the medical facts because what you said is absolutely untrue.

    The truth is that the more obese a person is, the more likely he or she is to develop health problems and to die prematurely.

    I currently have people in my family who are eating themselves into an early grave. I have already lost relatives and friends who died prematurely due to their addiction to overeating. In all cases of premature death the autopsies revealed that obesity ie. addiction to over-eating was the underlying cause for their demise.

    As you have cheerfully posted lengthy comments from others I’m expecting you to post this one too.

    Increased Health Risk of Premature Death
    Someone who is 40 percent overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely as an average-weight person. This effect is seen after 10 to 30 years of being obese.

    Increased Health Risk of Heart Disease
    The risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac death, angina or chest pain is increased in persons who are overweight or obese. High blood pressure is twice as common in adults who are obese than in those who are at a healthy weight. Obesity is associated with high triglycerides and decreased HDL cholesterol.

    Increased Health Risk of Stroke
    Atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which may lead to the formation of an arterial blood clot, is an important pre-condition of many strokes. Atherosclerosis is accelerated by high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and lack of exercise. Obesity, especially morbid obesity is frequently associated with a high-fat diet, raised blood pressure and lack of exercise. Thus obesity is now considered an important secondary risk factor for strokes.

    Increased Health Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
    A weight increase of 11-18 pounds raises a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes to twice that of individuals who have not gained weight. Over 80 percent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese. This may account for the newly invented word, “diabesity”ยฎ, which signifies the close association between obesity and diabetes.

    Increased Health Risk of Cancers
    Obesity is associated with an increased risk for some types of cancer including endometrial (cancer of the lining of the uterus), colon, gall bladder, prostate, kidney, and post-menopausal breast cancer. Women gaining more than 20 pounds from age 18 to midlife double their risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, compared to women whose weight remains stable.
    Increased Health Risk of Fatty Liver Disease

    The main cause of non alcoholic fatty liver disease is insulin resistance, a metabolic disorder in which cells become insensitive to the effect of insulin. One of the most common risk factors for insulin resistance is obesity, especially central abdominal obesity. Studies indicate a correlation between body mass index (BMI) and the degree of liver damage. The higher the BMI the worse the liver disease.

    Obesity is a Risk Factor For Chronic Venous Insufficiency
    Although obesity is not a direct cause of chronic venous insufficiency, it is an important risk factor. This is because obesity, especially morbid obesity, leads to raised blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle and musculoskeletal problems (hampering mobility and use of leg muscles), all of which are contributory factors in the development of chronic venous insufficiency. Obese patients also have an increased health risk of other vascular disorders (eg. lower-limb ischemia), caused by inadequate blood flow to the extremities.

    Increased Health Risk of Gallbladder Disease
    The risk of gallstones is approximately 3 times greater for obese patients than in non-obese people. Indeed, the risk of sympomatic gallstones appears to correlate with a rise in body mass index (BMI).

    Increased Health Risk of Breathing Problems
    Obstructive sleep apnea (that is, interrupted breathing during sleeping) is more common in obese persons. Obesity is associated with a higher prevalence of asthma and severe bronchitis, as well as obesity hypoventilation syndrome and respiratory insufficiency.
    Obesity and Deep Vein Thrombosis

    Risk factors for deep vein thrombosis include prior history of the disease, vascular damage, hypertension and predisposition to blood clotting. Although obesity (BMI 30+) has traditionally been recognised as a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, experts now consider that the evidence supporting this association is inadequate, as much depends on other factors such as history, illness, immobility, and age.

    Increased Health Risk of Arthritis
    Musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis, are much more prevalent among obese patients, especially patients diagnosed with severe clinical or mobid obesity. Health studies show that obesity is a strong predictor for symptoms of osteoarthritis, especially in the knees. The risk of osteoarthritis increases with every 2-pound gain in weight.

    Increased Health Risks For Expectant Mother and Baby
    Obesity has a strong detrimental effect on the health of both mother and new-born baby, both during and after pregnancy. Obesity while pregnant is associated with a higher risk of death in both the baby and the mother. It also raises the risk of high blood pressure in the Mom, by 10 times. Obesity during pregnancy is also associated with an increased risk of birth defects, such as spina bifida. Obesity-related health problems occurring after childbirth include higher risk of wound and endometrial infection, endometritis and urinary tract infection.

    To conclude it seems that people come in a variety of sizes and most of them have enough brain power and high enough self esteem to take care of their health so they don’t die from diseases caused by eating disorders. However, a minority do hold onto belief systems that will send them to an early grave.

    sulz: referring to the part you’ve quoted self from, it was in context of anyone else – that self’s being fat does not harm other people physically, unlike smoking which does affect others physically. as you can see, the full quote would be

    as for fat, it doesnโ€™t harm anyone physically, but it could affect loved ones emotionally because some fat people do face major health issues.

    so am not denying that some fat people face health problems.

  15. OMG! I went off on a menopausal tirade.
    I’m so sorry. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    Please feel free to delete all that medical crap up there.

    sulz: yeah, don’t worry. could see how was misunderstood because didn’t explain it clear enough…

  16. MONEY MONEY MONEY..
    everybody eyes for money so they might have compromised for that…
    well,if you ask me i would say no ..i wouldn’t want to be embarrassed in front of the whole country by acting in the country..
    ๐Ÿ˜›

    sulz: for sure, we’ve done something we may not want to at least once in our lives for the money!

  17. Just had to say how funny I found timethief’s second comment. Wonder if the menopause is made worse by obesity? Great post Sulz.

    sulz: thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Skinny Dude said:

    First off…
    i love plus size models
    they’re so much more…
    I dont know..apealing to me I guess
    that first pic with the roses is way better to me than if it was some skinny lady
    anyways just wanted to say that
    I like big girls. So if your some big girl, dont worry about getting skinny ’cause you think guys will like you more. You just have to find a guy who likes you for who you are and your body, get both!

    sulz: we should have more guys like you huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ but fat or skinny, i think all kinds of girls are beautiful in their own way…

  19. CansadaDeVosotros said:

    Interesting questions. I agree with Alabaster Crippens, maybe they didnt even knew what the ad was about!
    But I want to answer to Timethief and to some comments about health and weight.
    Open your minds! If you are hearing the news it looks like there are scientific studies saying that health is not related to weight, BMI or whatever. That that is a urban legend spread by the diet industry and have no medical basis.
    Just surf the net and you will find some interesting studies and a whole community of blogs called “the fatosphere”. Check them if you dare to change your beliefs…

  20. The reason I feel obese women aren’t attractive is because they can’t take care of themselves. If they would exercise at least 2-3 a week they’d be much better looking and probably feel better and be more confident! I’ve never heard a skinny girl saying she needs to be more fat, but I have heard a fat women that said she needs to be more skinner. The fact she says that and doesn’t do anything about bugs me.

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