Weight Watchers Doesn’t Understand Body Positivity

Weight Watchers Australia released a new campaign recently, attempting to use body positivity to sell their weight loss programmes. With the tagline “See Yourself In a New Light”, it shows a few women talking about their previous insecurities over their bodies and alluding to how Weight Watchers helped them gain confidence after going through the programme and losing weight.ww-featured

Now, losing weight is always a point of contention for a lot of people as it can be hard to really get the motivation to get out there and improve yourself.  It does not help that the media has made certain body shapes the ‘ideal’ type to have, resulting in a lot of women feeling pressure to have that body shape (even if its not physically possible) or having low self-esteem because of that. The movement of body positivity, which is about accepting one’s body for all the flaws and becoming confident enough to work towards one’s health goals, has been gaining popularity recently and it seems like Weight Watchers Australia has decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with promoting weight loss regimes and body acceptance, but navigating the waters of health and body improvement can be a little difficult when you want to market it to the public. Weight Watchers, who are no strangers when it comes to helping people lose weight, got a rude realisation of this fact when they released their ad for the new Weight Watchers Black.

The problem with this ad is that, while it aims to promote body positivity and acceptance it does so with a misguided, and albeit antiquated, view of things. Weight ads that aim to make their audience feel bad about who they are in order to lose weight are no strangers, and in this case, it really seems like this wasn’t the message weight watchers wanted to send at all, but that is how it came out.

Implying that people should lose weight in order to be in love with their bodies (or to enjoy their sex lives as this ad mentions) is wrong because it essentially sells people’s bodies short. Loving yourself, or body positivity, is about loving all your flaws and not having any insecurities because even skinny people or those who seemingly have no weight problems have body image problems (think anorexics and bulimics). To imply that losing weight will then alleviate these insecurities about your body only goes to show how, sadly, Weight Watchers just doesn’t get it.

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Again, it’s easy to tell that while this is the reaction people had to the ad it wasn’t the original intent behind it.  Weight Watchers probably just thought that they were doing things right, disregarding that it still preys on people’s insecurities about their bodies rather than #LoveYourself.  It’s generally understood that it is better to encourage people, to make them feel like they should be proud of their bodies and believe in themselves first.  If they want to lose weight after that then that’s perfect, but it won’t be any easier for them if they feel like they have to do it due to society’s view on how they should look, rather than because they want to do it – be it for health or aesthetics.

Weight Watcher has got some things to make up for after this, but as long as they learn from their mistake this time around and make sure to do better by their customers next time, then they’re sure to be able to get the message across.  For now, remember to love yourself and do things when you feel like they will improve who you are as a person, not because society forces you to.

 

Photo Credits: brandchannel, motto, Weight Watchers Australia and New Zealand/YouTube

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