Target: John Wren, Omnicom Group Inc. CEO
Goal: Demand less sexist body shaming hooks in advertising.
Advertisements for products such as cereal, diet sodas, and yogurt have been targeting women’s self-esteem for years. They use appearance and shame as motivators to encourage women to buy their “healthful” products, even if the products themselves are not that much healthier than other foods. They treat a woman having one piece of chocolate or bowl of ice cream as potentially “undoing her whole day” of healthful eating when in reality, one treat a day is not going to lead to obesity. They apply moralistic standards to womens’s dietary habits, treating a woman in a commercial who eats cake or cookies as “bad” while the woman who settles for Special K protein water or Yoplait dessert-flavored yogurt is “good.”
Commercials centered on encouraging healthy eating habits have always been unbalanced. For men, the angle is their health; even when their weight is factored in, the message is that obesity is unhealthy and can lead to cancer and heart attacks. With women, it is all about their appearance and the ability to look good in a bathing suit. One ad for Yoplait yogurt was even pulled for possibly triggering women with eating disorders.
The beauty and fashion industries have slowly been undergoing a change, attempting to praise and encourage women of all shapes and sizes to feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, this message has not reached the food industry. We need to stop targeting women’s insecurities about their size and appearance, stamp out the shame culture that permeates these commercials, and stop applying morals to dietary habits. Sign this petition to demand that advertising companies phase out their sexism.
Dear Mr. Wren,
For too long, advertising has been preying on women’s self-esteem and body image issues to sell products. This is not only sexist, but incredibly damaging and full of lies. Dieting should not be a test of a woman’s morals, nor should appearance and popularity be the reasons for women to eat healthfully and lose weight. There are so many other, more important benefits to a healthy diet, yet only advertisements aimed toward men address those benefits. Women should be encouraged to eat well for their own sake, not just to fit some standard of beauty.
Too many companies are using these hooks to sell their products at the expense of women’s self-image. Please take steps to put a stop to this sexist line of thinking in advertising.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Mike Mozart