Protein World

What Protein World can teach us about ourselves© PaulStringer© PaulStringer


Often, on our Facebook page, we jokingly point out our “PR fails” of the week, which have so far included the overhaul of the Conservatives’ #SameOldLabour campaign, and Lego’s off-topic haircut advice for little girls. But the one that has really stood out in recent times is the case of Protein World’s “Are you beach body ready?” campaign.


Unsurprisingly, yet in all probability in keeping with the kind of establishment that has relished recent comparisons of their company to headline-grabbing, boat-burning figure of controversy Katie Hopkins, the “beach body” in question isn’t exactly a body that is representative of most of womankind. So why use that to embody – excuse the pun – your company?


The advert goes pretty far in suggesting that your figure isn’t “ready” to be paraded up and down a beach unless whilst you are doing it, you are so thin that the sun can actually still shine through you and onto other revellers as you glide past, gravity barely able to grab on to anything in order to pull you back down to earth. Well, I’m exaggerating. But as a woman – and a relatively small one at that – I am still frustrated by these companies who aim to shame women in order to boost their own profits.  Really, think about it – it’s a travesty.


But aside from misguided companies sitting in stuffy old boardrooms with stuffy old mindsets, there are also unconscious biases at work everywhere, every day. And not just against women. Did you know that there was a study done by the University of Maryland which found that attractive men were less likely to be hired in an interview than someone more “plain”? It seems that even though we stomp our feet and call Protein World names strong enough to push over their models – although that wouldn’t take a lot – we might actually be guilty of underlying prejudices too.


So as much as it absolutely pains me to say this – maybe instead of just pointing the finger of blame at these foolish and frankly irresponsible companies, we should get a little bit more introspective and start analysing our own decisions. You’re probably not going to interview anyone soon, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a responsibility to make sure that nobody around you, at work or in life, is being pressured into conforming to anyone’s perfect “beach body” image – whether that incorporates gender, race, sexuality, age or any other feature.


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