Slay Your Day: a Response to the Critics of Gillette's New "Fat-Promoting" Ad
Today, I saw a photo ad by Gillette featuring a fabulous, fierce, fat woman- model and fashion icon Anna O'Brien. The photo features her in a bikini, looking just fucking radiant with the caption “Go out there and slay your day!”
Aaaaaand cue the Internet outrage.
This isn’t Gillette’s first controversial ad and I hope it won’t be their last.
Most of the criticism they’re receiving is accusing the razor company of “promoting obesity”. The comments ranged from shaming Gillette for “encouraging life threatening obesity” saying while they “wish the model well, Gillette should know better,” to making bets on how long it would be before model, Anna O'Brien “died of heart disease.”
Why must fat bodies only exist as a billboard for obesity related illnesses? Why must fat bodies be used as a warning against eating too many cheeseburgers, drinking too much soda, not going to the gym? Why must fat bodies be modestly and in “frumpwear” when our skinny counterparts can share as much skin as they choose without being criticized or questioned if that outfit is really “appropriate for their body type”? Why must fat bodies only be shown if they are the right kind of fat bodies that are fetishized and sexualized?
When I look at the photo of Anna in her bikini (which is super cute, by the way,) when I see her exuberant pose and radiant expression, I don’t think to myself “I wonder how she got to be that size.” I don’t worry that my daughter will see her picture and feel forced to be fat to be beautiful when she grows up.
I think about how happy she looks.
I think about women I know who are a similar size and shape. I think of myself, whose naked body also sports rolls and bumps and divots. I think about how amazing it is to be represented in such a joyful and real way. As a woman. In a cute swimsuit. Enjoying a day at the beach.
If you see anything else, look again.
I am fat.
My fat body is not an advertisement for an unhealthy lifestyle.
My fat body is strong.
My fat body makes whatever I wear look good.
My fat body carried my daughter for nine months and fed her for almost two years.
My fat body has been kissed and caressed head to toe by my partner in every stage of weight loss to weight gain, pregnancy and postpartum.
My fat body is real. Showing it off in whatever way I choose isn’t irresponsible. It’s not promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s not advertising fatty foods, lazy living, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or sexual fetishes.
I’m tired of plus size people only being acceptable if they are photoshopped sporting a snatched waist and a round thing in your face.
Only acceptable if they are wearing clothes that hide their figure, and only acceptable if they are being used as a “before” picture for weight loss schemes or as a warning against unhealthy habits or diseases.
I’m tired of fatass fat assumptions and people making a snap decision about a plus size person's health based on their dress size.
I’m tired of plus size people only being acceptable if they are fully clothed and having someone deem certain parts of their bodies unacceptable to be shown (when they would never cover those same limbs and torsos on someone who can fit in a sample size.)
I am so thankful for companies like Gillette, ModCloth, Splendies, Torrid, WildFang, ASOS, Target, Forever 21, Wet ‘N Wild and more for featuring real women, real people, real bodies. For not only showing a realistic and genuine picture of who their customers are, but for showing the world that it’s not that fat is the new norm or that fat alone should be celebrated. It’s that real is the new norm and should be celebrated. No matter what size or shape it comes in.
Real sometimes means a thick woman in a bikini. It sometimes means a trans person modeling a new clothing line. It means a picture of a mother holding her child and all of her stretch marks are visible and not airbrushed away. It means a woman in a hijab. A man with flawless makeup. Same sex couples holding hands, kissing, laughing, talking to their children.
Real isn’t just about you. Or me. It’s about all of us. And not all of us fit into a tidy, sample size, white, hetero box.
We’re done hiding in the background.
We deserve to live our loud, bold, real lives where the world can see us too.
Anna O'Brien deserves to go to the beach in a fucking bikini. She deserves to enjoy the sand, sun and surf in a fucking bikini. She deserves to show her body clothed in any way she chooses, just like a thin person could, without being told she’s condoning diseases that are sometimes related to obesity. She deserves to be happy, to take happy pictures, in her own, real body,
in a fucking bikini.
She deserves to go out there and slay the day.
And so do I.
In honor of the inspiration Gillette and Anna O'Brien imparted to us, Candor would like to pass that inspiration and empowerment to our readers.
We invite you to share photos of your real selves with the tags #SlayYourWay #SlayTheDay and show the world what real looks like.
You are incredible, just the way you are!
Go out there and slay the day!