Buzz Off, Special K, We Don't Need Your Lecture on Fat Talk


Ladies! Special K (the cereal brand, not the drug) has a very special message for all of you. It’s come to their attention that 93 percent of women are engaging in “fat talk.” And that’s bad. It’s so bad, in fact, that Special K has launched an entire ad campaign, complete with Tyra Banks as spokesperson, devoted to how bad it is.

If it happens to remind women that Special K exists just in time for New Year’s resolution season, well, then, everybody’s happy, right?

The centerpiece of this campaign is an ad filmed in a fake clothing boutique created by Special K. The cereal-mongers filled it with signs covered in fat talk. All the clothes had tags with lines like “I have a muffin talk” and “#cow.”

First the shoppers are outraged, then the awareness dawns: “This is just like looking inside of my head.” “It kind of makes me feel nauseous.” “I feel sad.” “I didn’t realize how bad it was.” “It was definitely eye-opening.” BOOM: You just got your consciousness raised. Please address all thank-you notes to the Kellogg Company.

Yes, fat talk is terrible for your emotional well-being. It would be a kindness to yourself and your friends to ban it from your vocabulary.

But how many new years in a row have we been bombarded with ads encouraging us to “take the Special K challenge”? You could get whiplash from the mixed messages in the press release announcing the campaign: “Fat Talk is contagious – and it’s weighing women down. Whether sparked by an unflattering photo or shopping for jeans, these negative comments women make about their own bodies and others are a destructive and significant barrier to weight-management success.”

Special K is in fact presenting fat talk not as corrosive to mental health, but rather as a barrier to weight loss. This asinine ad campaign would have you continue to feel bad about your body. Just feel bad about your body in the way that Special K wants you to. Feel bad in a way that compels you to buy flavorless cereal.

Here’s a novel idea, Special K: Try making a food that doesn’t taste like dietary sackcloth and ashes. Then maybe you won’t need a weight-loss challenge or a lecture about body image to sell your product.

(h/t Business Insider)

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