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Warning: This ad could make you fat

There was an article in the Fail on Sunday by Dr Ellie Cannon which basically raised the concept that this ad from M&S, which does, to my eyes, show women of all different shapes and sizes, promotes obesity:

OK, so I’m looking at the ad again and I can’t see how it would promote obesity, but that’s Dr Ellie’s opinion.

Yesterday she and I had a discussion on twitter. ‘Fat is not a feminist issue,’ she tweeted. ‘It’s a health issue. Forgetting that is a grave mistake.’

I pointed out that being slim doesn’t always = healthy (particularly if someone smokes) and she agreed.

But she also tweeted that ‘they could have celebrated women of all shapes and sizes.’ Er… the ad does celebrate women of all shapes and sizes, doesn’t it?

I’m looking at it again and I still can’t see how it promotes obesity. Dr Ellie’s argument (I’m calling her Dr Ellie because that’s the name she uses to write her various magazine columns) is that a couple of the models are ‘clearly obese.’

Are they?

I see one model (far right) who could be described as curvy. The others, to me, look slim, and two of them look very skinny.

If young women are given the impression by a doctor that the woman on the far right is obese, and unhealthy, what is this going to do for their self-esteem if they don’t have the same body shape as the model in the middle, or the one on the far left?

The fact Dr Ellie’s original article appeared in a newspaper not known for its love of women of all body shapes, says it all to me. Of course women need to know that their BMI should be healthy, but encouraging them to believe that women with big busts and tummies are unhealthy isn’t sensible medical advice.

It’s dangerous.

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