Taking Weight Loss Promotion to New Lows!

From Sociological Images, a health club in the Netherlands is using a bus stop that advertises both the gym and the weight of the person sitting on the bench.

Um, what?!?!

Body-shaming isn't an entirely new concept for gym advertisements. However, this is taking on a whole new level of disgrace. While people's bodies are obviously on display for potential judgement and speculation whenever anyone is out in public, the idea of conducting a public weigh-in and linking that with a gym ad is incredibly inappropriate. There are so many different people and issues that this kind of ad campaign would hurt, I just don't even know where to start. Which is why I suggest checking out Shakesville, the f word, and AdFreak for more thoughts.

by Annalee Schafranek
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10 Comments Have Been Posted


Wow. Just.... wow. That is so completely disgusting and disturbing. I think about my friend, who has struggled with bulimia for years, sitting on that bench and then feeling like she has to go home and purge. I think about my mom, who was thin but gained weight due to disease, sitting on that bench and feeling even more stigmatized. I think about my dad, who is also ill and struggles to maintain 130 lbs sitting there and having his wasting-away on public display.

Since when is it okay to not only talk about people's weight but to also put it on public display??? Our society really needs to take a good long hard look at itself when it comes to judging people by weight. Whether it's fashionistas making fun of large people, or feminists making fun of anorexics, THIS NEEDS TO STOP.

I hope someone in the Netherlands takes it upon themselves to take a sledge hammer to that disgusting piece of "marketing."

I completely agree. That

I completely agree. That bench disgusts me. Why is society so obbessed with weight? Some people can't help being over weight because of genetics. Most people are already uncomfortable about something about their body, and this bench just will make it worse.

sledgehammer yes!

I think breaking it in anyway possible would be acceptable. I would be crushed to have my weight broadcast to me and others. And maybe it adds weight to it, to get more customers. And not everyone is able to stand instead of sit on the bench. Maybe piling it with bricks would break it?

Any business that would take part in such a campaign does not deserve to continue to exist. Maybe all's fair, and everyone is judging us anyway, and men tend to think 140 is obese ... but everyone (like the president of this business) makes a choice what to do, and this is a mind-bogglingly cruel and thoughtless action.

It just seems like a weird

It just seems like a weird idea. lol
Is it really worth the money and time to advertise in that manner?
Of course I guess it did get its word all the way over here.

And if you're worried about your weight being on display...
why don't you just NOT sit on the bench?

Its advertising a gym. Gyms are healthy, and the bench looks fun to me.

"This ad is calculated to

"This ad is calculated to exploit people's (read: "women's") insecurity about weight in order to shame them into joining their gym."

How do you know that the ad company's were trying to exploit peoples insecurities about weight?
To me the bench looks like a fun loving new idea looking to attract the curious and playfull. I don't know if thats what they were going for but thats what I thought of when I heard the idea.

"So, if you walked up to that bus stop and saw an overweight person standing next to an empty bench, it wouldn't, at least, appear that the person is too embarrassed to sit?"

Actually no, that would not be my first impression at all. Maybe they just didnt want to sit down?

"What about people with disabilities who are unable to stand for long?"

Then go to the next bench. If its REALLY that inconveinient...then you have a case, and can complain to whoever's in charge of the bus stops.

"If you are so comfortable with your body that you don't mind having your privacy invaded and weight publicly displayed, good for you. But honestly, that comment comes across as insensitive to those of us who don't have stick-figure bodies."

Are you assuming that I'm a stick? If not that's cool I was just curious. But I want to make it clear that I'm not just skin and bones over here. I have many close friends who arent sticks either, so its not like I"m completely clueless as to what it feels like to be fat.
I know its not "fun".

"We certainly don't need to be told what we look like. There's a reminder on practically every magazine cover out there. It's why eating disorders are so prevalent, and why diet pills and liposuction are such big money-makers. "

I disagree, I dont believe that magazine covers are the reason people develope eating disorders. The reason people go to things like anorexia,bulimia, plastic surgery ect... is because they're too lazy to get up and do it with the long, hard, natural, healthy methods. It's just the American way. Instant gratification is what were taught to want.

The WAY we loose weight has nothing to do with the reasons why.

"There's already an enormous amount of hostility toward people who are overweight, and pressure be stick thin, because, hey, if we really cared about how we looked, we'd stop being gluttons, work out, and eat less, right?"

Its understandable that theres a lot of hostility twords obese people. They're unhealthy, AND don't care enough to be healthy. If they did, they wouldn't have a problem. If they would just care enough to do the hard work, they would be happier, healthier, and prettier. They could see an interesting bus advertisment and see the fun in it.

I look at societies women and see a huge variety of body types. If people didn't find those models attractive then they wouldn't be on the covers of magazines. And if they weren't healthy, we wouldnt find them attractive. That's just human nature.

I believe skinny is healthy, healthy is beautifull, and the bench is still neat.

just want to make it clear

just want to make it clear when I say skinny I don't mean unhealthy creepy skinny >_<.
I mean natural skinny. Just like anorexia, obesity is sad and should be treated in the same manor.

Ember, your incapacity to

Ember, your incapacity to engage in critical analysis is really quite scary.
There is no such thing as "natural skinny", all body sizes are culturally constructed according to the body norm. Anyone who questions this norm, or fails to conform to it, it socially stigmatized, bullied, pressured, dehumanized, the list goes on.
If you don't understand anything about this, you really shouldn't be in the same forums as others who ARE critically engaging with these norms. It is a waste of our time, and yours also.

What are you talking about

What are you talking about no such thing as natural skinny? I know plenty of people who don't do anything unnatural to get skinny but they are. They eat well, they excersize and average amount...and they're just skinny. Its the way it goes with some body types.
especially tall people.

Here's how I see it,
there's unhealthy unnatural skinny
there's skinny, which means you dont have much muscle mass but your normal
theres the norm which is what society usually likes to see
(strong athletic healthy women)
theres the whole curvy thing which means you've got skin, you've got bones, you've got muscle and a little bit extra.
then there's obese which means you've got a whole lot extra.

that seems like a pretty good analysis of the way things are....

maybe YOU just didnt understand what I was saying?

sorry if I posted this twice >_0

I accadently messed up the first time I posted this but I'll try to duplicate my basic point...

I know plenty of people who are naturally skinny, they don't do anything unnatural to get that way, they eat healthy, excersize an average amount, and they're skinny. Thats just the way some people are, especially tall people.

unnaturally skinny people
skinny people
average people (what society would like to see)
curvy people
and obese

I feel like I understand all of this pretty well...but I don't quite understand what you mean when you say engage in critical analysis...
sorry :(

I'd like to add that it seems like I offended you...if I did maybe you could tell me why?

I don't know... all I could

I don't know... all I could say to this was... "Really? Are you serious?"

And it sort of reminds me of the askmen.com article. Was it "Top 10 ways to tell her she's getting fat"? I don't remember.

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