So I was making my way to work today, walking the 15 minutes or so to my bus stop, when a bus of a different route drove past me. “Hmm,” I thought to myself, “if I’d caught that to my bus stop, I wouldn’t be so late for work.” And then the bus was well ahead of me, and I saw the back of it, which had this ad emblazoned across it:
At which point my thoughts took on the form of “Fuck you, assholes!”
I don’t really need to explain myself here, do I? You can see how fucked up and dangerous this is?
I am going to explain, though, because I’m cranky.
Stage 1 of perceiving this ad: “High self esteem comes from being physically attractive”
That is essentially what it’s telling me. In order to have high self esteem, to have a high regard for my own sense of self worth, I need to be slim and pretty.
“But ad,” I said to the back of the bus, “I don’t place such a high value on being thin. Like, I want to be thin, and I want to be pretty… but the things that really make me feel good about myself come from elsewhere.”
Stage 2 of perceiving this ad: “Your values are wrong”
It’s right there in larger than life image and text, this is what is going to make you feel good about yourself, and if you think differently, you’re wrong. There is no room in this ad for “if you happen to place a high value on physical appearance then being thin will make you feel better about yourself, and we believe our protein bars might help you to achieve that.” No, it said to me, no no NO, the things that you think make you a worthwhile person are wrong. WRONG.
“But ad, like… if I’m wrong, and you’re right, and I don’t look like that… what do I do to fix it? HOW CAN I FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF??”
We need their product, of course.
The hypocrisy at play here is so glaringly blatant and obvious, but you know what? I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t even see it themselves. The company’s name is Aussie Bodies, and a google search brings up the following by-line:
“Aussie Bodies promotes good health and fitness through protein supplements and drinks that gives you energy and nutrients for weight loss and bodybuilding.”
My head is seriously spinning, eyes jumping around from “good health” to “drinks that give you energy” and “weight loss”, “supplements”, then back to “good health”… you see it too, yes?
This spiel on the Vitamin King website claims that “Aussie Bodies is a rapidly growing, progressive Australian company dedicated to nourishing both body and mind” – how is telling everyone that they have to be thin and attractive in order to be worthwhile human beings going to nourish their minds? I’m stating the bleeding obvious here and I really hate doing that, but holy shit… amirite?
Have they even considered what “self esteem” actually is? I really hope not, because then they would also understand the effects of having negative self esteem. And to know that, to fully understand it, and to exploit it to try to make sales – that’s fucking despicable.
Hey, Aussie Bodies, you know what powers MY self esteem? Getting praise for my writing, and good marks at uni. Getting my head around a philosophical concept. Having friends who think I’m pretty awesome, that I’m a nice person with intelligence and humour.
And you know what fucks with my self esteem? Thinking too much about what I look like.
Another good thing about being me is that I can handle this, I know that it’s bullshit, and I’m not going to let it dictate my sense of self worth and make me feel bad about myself.
The more impressionable ones, though? You’re gonna fuck them up, Aussie Bodies *slow clap*
There isn’t a scale that a grade for this could be placed on… just imagine a steaming pile of dung with a used tampon sitting on top, that should adequately express the rating that I’ve given it.