147 thoughts on “Pop Quiz

  1. I LOVE that Body Shop poster. I used it in a final Speech 101 class project about
    Body Acceptance. BTW The teacher gave me an A- on my speech, although I objectively feel it was worthy of an A. She said I seemed “too emotional and angry”.
    She was sickly thin and I know for a fact she had her own issues with food and weight. Threatened much?

  2. Do I seriously have to answer that?

    And how’s about that tagline, eh?

    “My mom says I can’t play with you any more because I’m s’posed to stay away from Obesity”.

  3. I LOVE that second doll! :D And she doesn’t have blond hair either! Not that I’m dissing blonds, just that barbie is ALWAYS blond…only her friends are brunettes or redheads or anything else…

    Anyways what a nice poster to see today. The second at any rate. The top one just makes me sad because it is all about assuming fatties do nothing but lounge around eating fast food. What a waste of what could be a good way to introduce body positivity into our children.

  4. “Keep obesity away from your child” is the tagline of a new campaign by Texas-based Hispanic shop LatinWorks for an organization called Active Life Movement.

    Is this campaign supposed to be aimed at Hispanics/Latinos? Because I’m pretty sure blonde, blue-eyed Barbie presents it’s own issues when being used as a model for how non-Caucasians are supposed to look, regardless of the thin/fat question.

    And of course, if it’s aimed at the general population, fuck the creators anyway cause wow that’s a crock of shit.

    DRST

  5. My first thought on the first poster was, who’s this Obesity person, and what on earth has she done to make people shun her like that?

    My second was that I kind of like her outfit, even though it was perhaps chosen to make the usual b.s. statement: “She shouldn’t be wearing that.

    But I love love LOVE the second poster! I would so buy that doll for my daughters!

  6. The first one needs to be rolled around a heavy object and used to bludgeon its creator.

    The second one, however, totally rocks.

  7. I lovelovelove the second poster, the point it makes is fantastic (ignoring the fact that what with the wonders of digital manipulation even the people who *are* supermodels don’t actually look like that).

    Also, for the first poster the tagline being put in the passive just makes it seem like obesity is an eeeevil monster that will sneak up and make off with you in the night. What a fabulous way of reinforcing the “freak” status of all those who fall outside society’s conception of an “ideal” body size.

    *headdesk*

  8. Whoa, Stacia. I understand your point of view, but is it necessary to assume that your teacher has an eating disorder and that she’s “sickly” in order to prove your point?

    You just did to her the exact same thing that you’re complaining about – you made an assumption about her based on her weight. If you don’t want people to make assumptions about you based on your weight, you may want to consider looking at your own patterns of behavior as well.

  9. Anybody remember that rap-style song that was really popular on the radio during, geez, I guess probably the early or mid 90’s (back when I actually used to listen to the popular radio stations, now I just listen to CD’s but whatev) called “This Is Why I’m Hot?”

    Yeah, I imagine that to be the soundtrack for that second photo. XD

    This is why
    this is why
    this is why I’m HOT!

  10. You’re right KM, point taken. I should not have made that assumption.

    She was a thin person. She advised me about how I could avoid gaining so much weight in future pregnancies. She was admittedly very conscious of food and weight. This is objective information, but I was wrong to judge her for that or for her size.

    I’m new at this, and I really need this board so I don’t want to do anything to alienate myself. Thank you.

  11. Whoa, Stacia. I understand your point of view, but is it necessary to assume that your teacher has an eating disorder and that she’s “sickly” in order to prove your point?

    KM, I’m with you halfway there. You can’t make assumptions about someone’s health based on thinness any more than fatness. But I’ll take Stacia’s word for it that she knows “for a fact” that this teacher had issues with food and weight — you’re only assuming that’s an assumption, when Stacia said explicitly it wasn’t.

  12. I think Barbie #2 is gorgeous and hot. I think Barbie #1 might be, too, only it’s hard to tell because they’ve got her looking like she’s in some sort of straightjacket and unable to move. Don’t you think? She sort of looks bound by her fat, which I guess is the point.

    I’m sure if she stood up and put her arms above her head like that, she’d be pretty hot too.

    btw, Barbie #2 is way sexier than the conventional Barbie. Not that I’m sexually attracted to Barbies, as a regular thing, but, well, hubba hubba. Though the absence of nipples is troubling :)

  13. That’s semi-rhetorical isn’t it?

    May I just say that I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I love that the second one is a redhead. Because fat redheads are hot. :)

  14. And Stacia and I were cross-posting.

    No worries, Stacia — as you can see above, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt on at least half of your statement. But we definitely want to avoid judgment of any woman’s body around here, so I’m glad KM brought that up and glad you took the advice in stride.

  15. Is it so wrong that the first Barbie looks way more like me on an average day than the second?

    I’m at work so can’t click around to see whether there’s a larger, more damaging message surrounding the first image. And my apartment is a lot more sparsely decorated (and cleaner — are those soda cans and fast food containers spread all over?). But when I look at those two images, I connect myself WAY more to the fashionably dressed, chillin-with-the-laptop Barbie than to the naked, sexily posed Barbie.

  16. What can I say, I love ‘em both. I mean, not the stupid hateful tag line with the first, but just the image? She looks comfy and happy, like she’s kicked-back chatting with her friends on her laptop. OMG Fat Barbie has friends?!

  17. Sorry, Stacia and Kate – you’re right in that you did have knowledge that your teacher was very conscious about food and I should have accepted that you really meant that. Honestly, I was being defensive because people make those assumptions about me!

    And on topic, I wish there were Barbies that looked like the second poster!

  18. I wonder if the campaign using Barbie #1 will by C&D’d for using something resembling Barbie™ as the campaign using Barbie #2 was. (Do folks remember when the Body Shop ads used a real photoshopped Barbie, not another doll?)

    Telling if Barbie #1 is allowed to continue, neh?

  19. OMG, Playmobil pirates! I have that pirate ship — on the headboard of my bed, even — and I am so jealous none of the pirates is actually all fat.

  20. Oh, I loved Ruby back when she first appeared. There was a cool little booklet that the Body Shop were also doing at the time, all about body hatred and how to overcome it. I still have a copy somewhere. It was supposed to be the first in a series, I think, but I never saw another one.

    Although, I’m with maewyn, #1 is a bit more me. If you discount the soda, which I don’t drink, the odd decor, and the sleeping cat. Any cat in the same room as a Chinese takeout is usually pawing and drooling, from my experience.

  21. I agree that they both look great, the first minus the tagline and the strewn soda cans. (Who *does* that? Buys a coordinating pink comforter and then strews soda cans on it?)

    The main thing I find disconcerting about the first is that her ass doesn’t dent the bed at all, so it looks like her fatness is actually some kind of helium inflation. Which would definitely merit public health attention, if it were true.

  22. Keep it away from my child? I would totally buy my hypothetical kid those fat pirates! See, I would want MY child to grow up in a world of diversity, you know, much like the REAL one s/he is going to be living in every day!

    Then again, my hypothetical child would also be wearing blue as an infant even if female, and have toys available that aren’t so strictly gendered (not to mention several that are, but of both genders… I can’t be the only girl who loved the Creepy Crawlers set as a kid, and any male children of mine will have to deal with dollies in the toybox and I bet you anything he’d play with them too, at least until his stupid friends start squealing something stupid… I don’t think I like children enough to have children, on second thought…).

    I loooooove Ruby! I really want that ad as a poster. I’d put her up in my room. On my door, next to my quote by Grace Dane: “You are complete. You lack nothing. You have everything you need. You are good.”

  23. “Keep obesity away from your children?” I’m starting to get worried. Seriously. How far is this witch hunt going to go? I have two children, am I now as dangerous to them as a convicted felon in the eyes of public health and social service authorities? Am I supposed to keep myself away from them? Too bad I already passed on my blubbery, malignant genes!

    I’m trying to keep a sense of humor, but this is really starting to worry me, that maybe unwelcome interventions are going to start intruding into family life.

  24. Do folks remember when the Body Shop ads used a real photoshopped Barbie, not another doll?

    YES. That is the ad I thought this post referenced before I clicked on the feed and saw the actual photo. I really liked that ad, although when it came out I was way to steeped in my bad body image issues to really apply the message to myself.

  25. The fat pirates are the cutest thing ever and totally win the internets.
    (Somehow I don’t think that was the agency’s intended effect. Bwahahahaha!)

    Speaking of plastic people, there was a new (independent, I think) lingere shop in the mall I went to last night. It had the same number of both thin and plus-sized mannequins in their window, and the plus mannequins actually had a wee tummy roll instead of being enlarged versions of the thin ones. It made me smile.

  26. I can’t believe no one has snapped up the idea to make the Ruby dolls. I would totally buy a few dozen and give them to every girl I know.

    Also, the Body Shop is made of awesome. Body Butter had my undying loyalty before, but now I am proud to be a loyal customer for more than yummy skin deliciousness.

    Finally, the first ad tagline makes me sick. When will people learn that shaming messages do not work? When will people stop getting hysterical over body shapes and sizes that are – OMFG – different for each person? It’s quite discouraging.

  27. The problem with the tagline isn’t even that it’s insulting. It’s that it’s dumb. How exactly are we supposed to keep Obesity away from our children? Obesity-proof locks on the windows? Obesityscreen, with a Fat Protection Factor (FPF) of 30?

  28. I would have to go with the 1st Barbie because she has a laptop, and I cannot function without one. It’s how I keep in touch with my friends and family without running up exorbitant phone bills.

    Also, I don’t think showing a group of fat pirates is in any way going to discourage kids from being fat because
    1. Pirates are awesome.
    2. They are clearly having an awesome pirate party with their pirate friends. (Note the food, drink, and smiles)
    3. They have a friend who is a genie, and genies are also awesome.

  29. You can’t make assumptions about someone’s health based on thinness any more than fatness.
    ***
    Kate, I have to disagree with that to a certain extent because I just don’t think the logic works both ways. I would agree that you can’t assume someone’s fatness or thinness is *causing* health problems for them. But beyond a certain threshold, I think you can reasonably assume that this person is so extraordinarily thin *because* of health problems. It’s not a judgment on them or their bodies, just an observation.

  30. Christine, that’s assuming a whole lot. That’s saying there’s threshhold’s for human dignity. That you can only be x fat/thin before you cease to be acceptable.

  31. Christine, that’s assuming a whole lot. That’s saying there’s threshhold’s for human dignity. That you can only be x fat/thin before you cease to be acceptable.
    ***********
    TR, please don’t read more into my comment than what I’m saying.

    I’m simply saying that beyond a certain threshold, thinness becomes incompatible with life. When you see someone at that threshold, it’s reasonable to assume there’s a serious illness involved.

  32. What strikes me about all the Active Life ads is that they all depend on fear of fat and food for their effect. Taken just as they are, they all look happy and relaxed, like they’re having a good time kicking back after doing whatever toys do.

  33. Christine, I see what you are saying but I don’t think I agree that it’s asymmetrical. You could just as easily argue that there’s a level of fatness that must be caused by or caused by a health problem. I think it might be true that at the very extremes of weight you could make some assumptions and you would very likely be right. However, in the vast majority of cases Kate’s statement is probably right, so that makes a much better rule to live by.

    But in the end, it doesn’t really matter if there is a correlation. It doesn’t have any bearing on how you should treat people or how much they deserve to not have people assume things about them.

  34. What strikes ME about the “Active Life” ads is that they’re not showing anyone doing anything ACTIVE.

    I don’t understand why they don’t, you know, show some people (probably too much to hope for that they be different shapes and sizes and colors and such) actually being active, and enjoying themselves.

    Activity and relaxation don’t need to be enemies. There is a point where active recreation becomes wreck-reation. You can’t just go until you drop dead. Well, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    I don’t trust something that relies on scare tactics, frankly. If whatever they’re selling isn’t awesome enough on its own to be sold to me on its merits, but instead needs to try to intimidate me by using some vile scaremongering of what will happen if I don’t do or buy XYZ… I guess it must not, in actuality, be that great.

  35. Activity and relaxation don’t need to be enemies. There is a point where active recreation becomes wreck-reation. You can’t just go until you drop dead.

    This is SUCH a good point, especially in American culture where we’re supposed to strive, strive, strive all the time. “Fit” Barbie, like “Fat” Barbie, probably also hangs out on Facebook or whatever. The ad is not about activity levels but about body shame.

    2. They are clearly having an awesome pirate party with their pirate friends. (Note the food, drink, and smiles)

    That’s what I thought, too! Ain’t no party like a pirate party.

  36. Although, I’m with maewyn, #1 is a bit more me. If you discount the soda, which I don’t drink, the odd decor, and the sleeping cat. Any cat in the same room as a Chinese takeout is usually pawing and drooling, from my experience.
    Totally! Or staring up at the takeout bowl (I almost never eat out of the box, too messy) and mewing pitifully, or attempting to hop into my lap and snatch something, or prowling my desk and trying to get at the food while I attempt to eat at the computer. Only time I eat at my desk anymore is when my Warcraft guild wants to raid at dinnertime.

    2. They are clearly having an awesome pirate party with their pirate friends. (Note the food, drink, and smiles)
    Fat pirate party wins the internets! :D I’d totally buy a fat pirate party set.

  37. Okay, so bear with me, because I’m not sure this is going to come out right.

    I kind of feel about the first ad the way I feel about abstinence only education. So much of it relies on scaring teens away from those shameful, pleasurable things! Sex, food, relaxation, video games. Obviously, I’m not saying they’re all equivalent, but there is definitely an idea of pleasure=bad. I know that idea has been discussed many times on this site.

    What’s so frustrating about that is that if sex ed and health classes could stop all the negative crap and focus on the idea of respecting and loving your body, teens (and adults) could make choices that were based on feeling good and doing right by themselves. Just like sex, nutrition and exercise can be taught in an extremely negative, shaming way. Or it can be taught with positive messages about health, wellness, and self-respect and love.

  38. The first ad makes me want to cry. I don’t even know what it means to “keep your child away from obesity,” but apparently beds, computers, and enjoying meals with friends are now off-limits?

    It’s so sad. There have been many times where, on the same day, I’ve walked 4 miles, took a nap, danced around the house with my kid, relaxed on the couch with some knitting and Battlestar Galactica reruns, went for an after-dinner walk with my family, and then spent a couple of hours in bed reading before I went to sleep. Are we supposed to assume that Fat Barbie never leaves her bed? That the pirates do nothing but sit around and eat? That if somebody dares to do either of those things, they’re going to be fat? Is the idea that, if you’re fat, your simply not allowed to stop moving until you aren’t?

    I’ve gone through periods where I’ve tracked my activity by tracking the steps I walked, and it’s not like, on days when I was getting in 15,000-16,000 steps a day (12,000 a day is generally classified as “very active”), I had no time to sit and relax. I still had plenty of time to lounge on the couch with some knitting or curl up in bed with a book. Now, I only teach one or two classes per term, so I’m home most of the time and have a lot more time for both activity and leisure than most people (or at least activity of my choosing), so I’m definitely not saying, “See, everybody can walk XXXXX steps a day! It’s easy!”. What I’m saying is that the idea that you can’t both be active and enjoy non-active leisure time is, as others have pointed out, simply not true.

    I don’t even understand what message this is supposed to be getting across, because I can’t imagine any parent is really like, “That’s it! No more drumsticks and beers for Timmy! This ad taught me!”

  39. Looking at the pirates again, it’s not even beer. It’s like grog or something.

    So, apparently, parents should keep their children away from swigging grog from large bottles and gnawing on rawhide bones. Otherwise, they’ll get fat.

  40. OK, so my Wee One totally needs the Fat Pirate Party set, the Fat Batman with Bat Pizza set, and a Fat Barbie.

    Paging toymakers large and small! GET ON IT.

  41. @apricotmuffins

    I ran the saying through babelfish and it looks like that Barbie is “bad” because she’s sitting at home knitting instead of out running or doing some sort of strenuous exercise. At least that’s how I’m interpreting it.

    “its toy was not made to live motionless.”

  42. Does Barbie #1 have a tiny pet pig on her bed, how cute is that? I look a lot more like her than Barbie #2, except for the double chin and the hair. Actually, the whole head is proportioned weird on the first Barbie. She’d probably look a lot more natural if they stood her up, and I think the outfit is cute. How nice that she can wear something off the shoulder, do they make it in my size?

  43. OMG, don’t you people know that fat is contageous (omg, omg,omg) and just looking at these ads can cause dreaded and deadly fat acceptance!?!?!???

    seriously, horrified by the message of the first ad but loving both the female bodies and feelin kinda groovy about my own hotness right now

    once again, thank you for making my day!

  44. Delurking to pose a question that has bugged me about the second poster ever since I saw the Body Shop’s version many years ago. Who are the eight women? Is it Barbie and her friends (does she have 7 friends)? Eight supermodels? Is eight just a random number? I’ve always loved that poster, I used to see it all the time at the Eating Disorder clinic where I live — but I don’t understand the tagline.

    And ha – my room looks like the first Barbie’s. Complete with pop cans. I’m a slob. Careful, it’s contageous!

  45. Well I want to hang out the first first Barbie she seems cool. Plus she has one awesome bedroom and she’s on her laptop. Sleepover?

  46. Sorry for the two “first’s” I just got excited. My Barbie’s stopped being fun after their heads fell off (so you should be careful when brushing their hair).

  47. I still have the postcard from the original Body Shop campaign and it’s been nearly 20 years now, to the best of my recollection.

    On a separate note, you can actually buy the Emme doll for your kids which is a more realistic-sized fashion doll with some pretty spectacular clothing and accessories. Of course, she’s not available for $5 at every retail outlet in the world, but still…at least she exists. (She also needs some friends to party with, now that I think about it!)

  48. Wait, okay, so these ads are trying to make the point that fat is bad by associating fatness with 1) pirates and 2) Batman? Because nobody wants to be like pirates or Batman?

    Hmm. I suspect this may be less effective than they’re hoping.

  49. Dude, Mary Sue, and you could have a WHOLE BUNCH of different hooks with cool attachments in your WICKED BITCHIN BATMAN TOOL BELT!

    (/is overexcited about Pirate Batman)

  50. listen – *someone* had to make that doll, to make the poster. and if was possible, and has been done, then surely more could be made, right?

    and considering the demand (i could more easily count the Shapelings who *didn’t* want this doll than those who do), wouldn’t it be worth your time, miss kate, to contact the body shop and find out if they’d license ruby and make some?

    WANT WANT WANT

  51. Batman is clearly a Ninja, as such he is incompatible with Piracy. If there were to be a Batman Pirate he would constantly be fighting with himelf. Which would be hilarious, but also incompatible with Ninjary, Piracy or Crime Fighting. And as such he would essentially just be a crazy guy in a BatPirate costume.

    And y’know what, I’m okay with that.

    Holy rusted eyepatch BatPirate! Can you see out of that thing?

  52. I’m pretty sure that I don’t really understand the point of the campaign. Don’t play with toys or you’ll get fat?

  53. “Keep obesity away from your child” makes obesity sound a lot like a child molester. I’m not even joking. It’s one more thing that’s supposed to hit a parental panic button, another awful thing in a terrible, scary, scary world that you have to shield the little one from. It’s so freaking manipulative that it makes me want to scream.

  54. Off-topic: Today in our house we were having a discussion (in which our 4 y.o. was a participant) about “drum bellies” and “maraca bellies.” Drum bellies being the hard kind that you can play like a drum, and maraca bellies being the soft kind that you can shake like a maraca. Then we all played our belly instruments. I thought this was so precious I had to share.

    Then, just now, the same 4 y.o. was heading to the bathroom and saw SP up on my screen. He said, “Mommy, please keep that on your laptop until I get back.” I was hoping he’d come back, see the pictures, and say something cute about maraca bellies so that I’d have reason to report our earlier conversation to y’all. But he only said, “She has no belly button.” Oh well.

  55. wouldn’t it be worth your time, miss kate, to contact the body shop and find out if they’d license ruby and make some?

    The problem there is Mattel, who gave The Body Shop shit for the Ruby ad campaign, let alone actual dolls. If anyone can reasonably get the concept “fat Barbie” — as opposed to random fat plastic doll — from it, Mattel will not be pleased. And Mattel has much deeper pockets than I do.

  56. DRST: There are blond haired, blue eyed Hispanics. Just like there are brown haired, brown eyed Caucasians.

    Mary Sue … and your point is? I’m not quite sure how this relates to the point I was making.

    Christine when you assume *anything* about another person, you are projecting your belief system onto them in an area where it isn’t really any of your business. A person’s body isn’t public property open for comment or judgment, it’s private, and to make judgments about that body, even silently, is to engage in the system that most of us are here to reject.

    DRST

  57. Emerald and electrogirl,

    I must be more heartless than you two; one of my cats will sleep on the bed while I’m eating and sometimes even if I set the plate aside – she knows she’s not allowed to touch it until I put it on the floor. The other two indoor kitties will sometimes sit and watch hopefully from a distance but usually go off and do something interesting until they hear the clank of plate (with fork on it, generally) getting set on the floor…

    I look a lot more like her than Barbie #2, except for the double chin and the hair. Actually, the whole head is proportioned weird on the first Barbie.

    Yah, my two younger daughters both said, “She’d be really cool, but there’s something weird about her face.” Not excited about the cans on the bed, either (anyone with a coordinated room like that would set the cans somewhere hard and flat so they won’t spill, is my thought, although maybe they’re a clear drink so she isn’t sweating it, I dunno), but that doesn’t wreck the cheerfulness of the whole image.

    I’m with Linz that these ads mostly make fat look cool, particularly the pirates, although the superheroes look kinda glum to me instead of relaxed.

  58. A Sarah,

    I’ll have to share your kidlet’s terminology with hubby – he’s a drum belly and I’m a maraca belly. :D

  59. I lounge around in denim capris and no shoes just like the first Barbie, so of course she is totally cool.

    Lesley over at Fatshionista also blogged about this and one of the commenters said that if they are so concerned about keeping teh fatz away from children, perhaps improving school lunches and increasing PE instead of cutting it to make room for tests would be the way to do it instead of these scare tactic ads.
    (Of course, increased physical activity and healthier eating does not make everyone thin, but I see the point the commenter is trying to make).

  60. @shiloh — Hee! Neat. I have to figure out what someone is who is in between a drum and a maraca. That would be my husband. Maybe he’s some sort of string instrument?

  61. I’m with those who don’t think these ads are effective even in their own twisted world. Is the idea supposed to be “Would you buy these horrible FAT toys for your child?!?!?” In the context of the “Keep Obesity Away” tagline, that makes it sound like fat toys will make your child want to be fat.

    And even the least politicized parent in the world knows that Barbie sends unhealthy body messages, right? So if the campaign is reinforcing that buying toys with a given body type sends Virulent Messages! to your children…

    Maybe I’m overthinking it. Also, I cosign that the toys are obviously doing more than pigging out. The pirates had to steal loot to pay for that party, right?

  62. I’m awfully worried about the size of the bones those pirates are gnawing on. It makes me wonder…was this once a crew of five?

  63. The problem there is Mattel, who gave The Body Shop shit for the Ruby ad campaign, let alone actual dolls. If anyone can reasonably get the concept “fat Barbie” — as opposed to random fat plastic doll — from it, Mattel will not be pleased. And Mattel has much deeper pockets than I do.

    i know you’re right about this, but i can’t help wanting to make them anyway. with the right obfuscationary tactics, it could take a while to work through the courts. think how many dolls we could get out before they stopped us.

    and really, i don’t think they had a water-tight case against the body shop, either. barbie does *not* have the proportions of a supermodel, she doesn’t (or didn’t, i think they’ve changed them since) even have proportions that were *possible for humans*. which – if there is such a thing as an Emme doll (someone linked it above – then how would they be able to argue we weren’t just doing our own thing? other adult-women fashion dolls exist. we’d be making something totally different.

    i need to talk to someone in toy manufacturing. seriously.

  64. Richelle, that’s it! CANNIBALISM WILL MAKE YOU FAT! Just cut all the eating people out of your diet and you’ll totally slim down.

  65. DRST, I’ll reply to you in the same way I replied to TR. Please don’t read more into my comment than what I’ve actually said. In fact, your own words sum up my feelings best – “I’m not quite sure how this relates to the point I was making.”

  66. I’m kind of baffled as to how they were expecting these campaigns to work. I mean Batman? Oh no, no kid wants to be like Batman. And little kid me would have seen the pirate one and been all “Omg pirates! I want to be a pirate! Does this mean I get a parrot?”.

    The Body Shop ad is cool, though That campaign made a serious impact on me when it came out. Years later I randomly met Body Shop founder Anita Roddick in a mall. I gave her a hug.

  67. I too love the pirates… and yet I’m still saddened that such an ad campaign even exists. I hate that fat is portrayed as horrible as a molester and our innocent children must be shielded somehow. It makes you wonder what the perps of these ads would do to ‘shield’ the children if allowed?

    Still, obviously the pirates had to go out and pillage up their party so I cannot even see the point that they’re lazing around all day on their ship getting fat. Have these people ever tried working on a ship? It’s work!

    Pirate Batman for the win.

    ::sigh::

  68. Sans the stupid headline, I would totally want the first Fat Barbie image…though with a tidge less pink, because I’m simply not a Pink Person.

    I want what’s behind Door #2 complete with the glorious headline.

    Pirates are made of awesome! All the moreso when they look like they’re having fun. I want to see FatBatman with his BatPizza kick the ass of whoever designed the silly ad. What? You’ve never seen a guy with a big belly who could beat the ever lovin’ blue-eyed crap out of someone before? I’ve known quite a few. Not that they were in the habit, just the ability was known.

    My cat is a mutant. He shows virtually no interest in human food. He would totally ignore take out cartons on the bed. OTOH, they wouldn’t happen on my bed. Our quilt was designed specifically for us and handmade of images that are all about us, and there’s no way in hell I would risk it to random food and drink spills. Cat? Yes, because he’s amazingly well-behaved for a cat and can’t bear to be separated from me. Food? No, because I can’t be trusted not to get it all over everything.

  69. Damn! I have to keep my kids away from grog and rawhide? What the hell are they gonna eat?!?!?!
    Also, totally agree that you can get 15,000+ steps a day and still have time to read/knit/watch”Battlestar Gallactica” or “Doctor Who.”

    (LOVE the second poster!)

  70. Who are the eight women? Is it Barbie and her friends (does she have 7 friends)? Eight supermodels? Is eight just a random number? I’ve always loved that poster, I used to see it all the time at the Eating Disorder clinic where I live — but I don’t understand the tagline.Well, in the nineties, the “Big Six” (Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington) were called and considered supermodels. I’m not sure where the number eight came from (maybe Tatjana Patitz, Stephanie Seymour, or Helena Christensen were part of the extra two?) or if it was meant to be taken literally, but the point stands that supermodels are rare and anomalous and that the entire world should not hold all women to such an impossible standard.

  71. More like ‘keep the people who made this ad away from my child’.

    Aside from the fact that like most people who depict OMGOBESITY in popular media, they have absolutely no idea how fat looks or behaves (for example, Barbie’s ‘double chin’ looks like it’s actually a neck brace rather than flesh and if you look closely, I think they’ve even given her fat rolls on her knees), they have made just about every stereotypical assumption about fat people it is possible to make:

    Lonely? Check. She’s alone in her room.
    Inactive? Check. She’s on her bed and on the computer.
    Surrounded by junkfood? Check. Soft drink cans are on the bed and chips or fries are on the chair next to her.

    The superman one and the pirates are just as bad.

  72. Christine nice try but you said:

    But beyond a certain threshold, I think you can reasonably assume that this person is so extraordinarily thin *because* of health problems. It’s not a judgment on them or their bodies, just an observation

    I said:

    when you assume *anything* about another person, you are projecting your belief system onto them in an area where it isn’t really any of your business. A person’s body isn’t public property open for comment or judgment, it’s private, and to make judgments about that body, even silently, is to engage in the system that most of us are here to reject.

    Those two quotes? They are directly related. (Hint: that word “assume” would be the link.)

    DRST

  73. Rule # 1, do not read comments at other blogs. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    I would have schooled the troll, but frankly, my dog’s shit is more original that his logic.

  74. But beyond a certain threshold, I think you can reasonably assume that this person is so extraordinarily thin *because* of health problems. It’s not a judgment on them or their bodies, just an observation.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  75. Also:

    I’m simply saying that beyond a certain threshold, thinness becomes incompatible with life. When you see someone at that threshold, it’s reasonable to assume there’s a serious illness involved.

    Well! Good to know at some point a person becomes incompatible with LIFE. I’ll keep that in mind. (Maybe I’m a zombie? LOOK OUT EVERYONE!)

  76. Richelle — I had the same thought.
    I don’t think that eating people makes you fat. They are pretty low carb. I’m just speculating, of course.
    I can say with certainty that I didn’t get fat from eating people.
    I think the first Barbie is engaging in pretty standard teenage behavior. Thin teenagers also sit on their beds, eat takeout Chinese food, use their laptops. I actually thought a different tagline, like “the fat girl you make fun of does exactly the same things you do.”

  77. listen – *someone* had to make that doll, to make the poster. and if was possible, and has been done, then surely more could be made, right?

    Unfortunately for all of us would-be fat Barbie buyers, that poster is photoshopped. If you look in the mirror, the reflection of her forearm has been clearly altered they didn’t bother with the rest of the body which is still “regular” Barbie-sized.

    and if you look closely, I think they’ve even given her fat rolls on her knees

    Yep, two tiny, symmetrical rolls of fat on each kneecap, which I find cute if not likely. I’m betting that isn’t the reaction they wanted when they ‘shopped those in.

    Seriously though, are our children supposed have bodies like “regular” Barbie and Superman? Because neither one of those body types healthy or realistic for children.

    And, For my birthday this year, I want a Fat Pirate Party with rum cake and rum raison ice cream! (and by “rum” and “raison,” I mean chocolate)

  78. Volcanista, I was wondering about that — thinking that maybe the pirates weren’t fat until they ate one really large somebody.

    I really love the playmobil fat pirate set, though. It’s my favorite.

  79. I love the 1st Barbie’s bed. Well, perhaps in a slightly less pink version.

    I really like her outfit too. Took me a moment to work out what the point was. Then I saw the rather odd neck and realised she is supposed to be fat and ugly.

    I love the idea of keeping my kids away from a category. “Keep your kids away from middle age”, or maybe upper middle class…

  80. Maybe my eyes are going bad, but the Barbie that’s on the same page as Batman doesn’t even look fat. She’s just not built like a Barbie doll with a waist that would be 13 inches if she were human-sized.

  81. When I was a kid my nan made me a fat rag doll because I was quite round. I think ALL kids nans should make them one! I wish I still had it.

    The tagline with the first Barbie is offensive. To say “Keep obesity away from your child’ sounds to me like they are instructing kids to ensure that they shun the fat kid in the class, and probably bully them even more, because of their weight, which is just horrendous.

    Second Barbie is super sexy.

  82. “P.S. On a sort of unrelated note, The Body Shop is now owned by L’Oreal.”

    Which is part-owned by Nestlé. Their body politics might be ok (and I rate them as just ‘ok'; they do sell ‘cellulite treatments’ and whitening products), but Body Shop aren’t not the ethical paragons they’d like their customers to think they are.

  83. I just wanted to reiterate some of the senitments I’ve read above:

    2nd Barbie – just fabulous!

    1st Barbie – Wow! Isn’t she the most interesting Barbie we’ve ever seen? Bet you anything she’s writing an amazing novel, or article, or thesis, or Twittering to thousands, or adding a post here. Apart from that hateful degrading text that some idiot thought up, I reckon the depiction of the 1st Barbie is one of the coolest dolls I’ve seen. I mean lets face it, standard Barbie just poses in her car, shops, and dates one chap – oh and also does a bit of horseriding too. Not really all that inspirational to me when I was a child. But now, the makers of this silly ad have unwittingly given Barbie a heck of a lot more kudos for me – regardless of her size – by the mere fact that she’s doing something I perceive as creative for once.

    Just wish she was around as a real doll when I needed her most.

  84. What really concerns me about Barbie #1 is the background. Because of the colour and pattern of the walls (and my conditioning by the media) I totally thought she was in a clinic awaiting surgery.

    Also, is it me or does she look “real” from the waist down, and “illustrated” from the waist up?

    Finally, fat Playmobil pirates are awesome!

  85. I can say with certainty that I didn’t get fat from eating people.

    I did! I ate volcanista, actually. I decided her body wasn’t compatible with life so I ate her.

  86. If the point they’re trying to make with the first Barbie is that she’s gluttonous and slothful, they’re not even succeeding at that. Two cans of soda and one tiny Chinese food container? Not exactly a ton of food, is it, even if the soda isn’t diet soda. And do you notice the tiny fortune cookies near the Chinese food container? First, how cute! Second, don’t they know that no fattie can resist a cookie? How would those cookies have survived?

    Or perhaps the lesson is that having the skills needed to operate a computer is bad for you?

    I don’t get it.

  87. You know what you should keep your children away from? BAD PHOTOSHOPPING also fat-hating.

    And if the point of the campaign is “Active Life” why not–this may sound crazy–ACTUALLY PROMOTE EXERCISE AND ACTIVITY rather than fat-shaming?

  88. DRST, you continue to try to make more of my comment than what I actually said. Since Kate’s blog is not a debate forum, this will be my last word on the subject. My father lost over 40% of his body weight in the last year of his life, going from 200 on a 6’1″ frame to 117 at his death. At some threshold – for him, about 140 – it became apparent to anyone with eyes that he wasn’t just a very thin man; he was a very thin man because he was a very sick man. I’m not going to sit here and argue with you that people couldn’t make the very reasonable (and REAL) assessment that he was sick just by looking at him. I’m also not going to argue the utter absurdity that they were somehow “judging” him or his body by doing so.

  89. Holy shit, Christine, it’s ridiculous to say that since a person who lost more than 60 pounds in a very short time due to illness looked sick, anyone who reaches a certain level of thinness must therefore be ill/dying. I forget what fallacy that is, but I’m sure other folks here know it (FJ?).

    1. Plenty, PLENTY of very (“extraordinarily”) thin people are perfectly healthy. (Though it is nice to be called extraordinary!)
    2. You can’t judge a person’s health by looking at them, ESPECIALLY in a single snapshot without anything to compare to. And yes, evaluating a person’s health amounts to judgment.

    DRST is taking your statements precisely at face value, not “making more of [them] than what [you] actually said,” whatever that means.

  90. Also, do you not see a problem with your “I have one anecdote that trumps everything that everyone else is saying” argument? Didn’t FJ just have a really long post about anecdata and the 5-year weight-loss statistics?

  91. Not a very exciting fallacy, unfortunately — just hasty generalization. But absolutely fallacious. Christine, do some thinking about what you’re saying — if you actually listen to people’s responses, it should be very obvious that you’re doing to thin bodies exactly what we object to re: fat bodies (making assumptions about health, making hasty generalizations, moralizing health, etc.). You need to knock it off immediately.

  92. Christine, I’m sorry for your loss, and clearly this discussion comes from a personal place for you. I hope that you can hear why your statement about thinness being incompatible with life rings a lot of alarm bells in a body-positive space. It seems to me that when people become very thin due to life-threatening illness, there would be other visual indications that they’re sick. My partner is 6’1″ and has weighed 140 pounds at points in his adult life; he looked skinny, and he was, but he wasn’t dying. He was at the bottom of his natural range. Can you see why your blanket statement upset people?

  93. My partner is 6′1″ and has weighed 140 pounds at points in his adult life; he looked skinny, and he was, but he wasn’t dying.

    When my dad was a young man, he weighed 124 pounds at 6’1″ and didn’t look ill.

    However, he was encouraged to lie about his height by his (Korean War) draft board, because that height/weight combo was below the “acceptable limits” for the Army.

  94. One of my exes weighed 108 pounds at 6’0″. He probably did look ill. But he wasn’t ill, and even if he had been I would have objected to people eyeballing him and saying “that guy is clearly ill.”

  95. Oh man, I think I’m actually compatible with life right now. Turns out that because I’m on an upswing, my BMI is just a smidge over the “normal” boundary. I didn’t even realize that could happen!

  96. not to pile on, but–

    my best friend is very thin and has been her entire life. her entire family is all very thin. (they’re also all still living, so they’re apparently not “incompatible with life” thin.)

    she’s gotten crap about her weight *from strangers* for as long as i’ve known her–comments about her “obvious” anorexia or bulimia, kids in school saying she looks like she’s been in a prison camp, “concern” from motherly women asking her if she has irritable bowel and telling her it is treatable and she’ll be okay…

    she isn’t ill. she is just very thin. her parents and siblings aren’t sick either . they’re all just thin.

  97. This thread reminds me of the recent brouhaha about the Jessica Simpson pictures, OMG she is so fat nonsense. Only to be followed the next week with the Lindsey Lohan pictures, OMG she is so thin nonsense.

    Exactly what is this elusive “perfection” that society, media, pop culture, my mother thinks we should all be striving to obtain? Clearly, it is a very narrowly defined and asinine. We are all different some of us (me, me, me) are quite fat and healthy. Some of us are quite thin and healthy. Some of us are of “ideal BMI” and healthy. And the opposite is also true sick people who are of every conceivable, height, weight and BMI.

    Your body weight does not determine your health and glancing at the people in the grocery trying to determine who is or is not healthy by judging their bodies is not productive.

  98. also, the extreame thinnes as an illness indicator only furthurs the issues with fat anorexic/bulimic people. the idea that you have to be extreamly thin in order to count as sick is harmful. i too am sorry for your loss, and i’m sure it’s something that colors your statements, and while you may mean them a certain way that isn’t what’s being expressed. try to take the comment personally, only in the sence that questionable words cam out of your mouth. no one here is saying you’re a bad person. only that your sentances are questionable.

  99. Interesting to see barbie in a new way. If I had to choose and I really don’t ever want to in real life, I would pick the first one. It shows that you can be a big girl and still be a princess. Although, I’d change the tag line from what it is now to: Big girls are pretty too! I’d change this suppose to be a negative to a postive.

  100. My favourite one was from one of the people I had to see in the process of dropping out of university: “It’s obvious why you’re here. You’re clearly anorexic and you look terrible. Although being me all I managed to take away from that was that I’m hideous.

    And of course, when I picked my jaw up off the ground and said No I’m Not she didn’t believe me because obviously I was in denial. I don’t actually mind people expressing concern if they don’t know me well enough to know my natural weight (yes it’s an irksome assumption but I’m needy and like to know people don’t want me dead) but the flat-out contradictions are creepy. I suspect that if I’d been denying eating all pies rather than denying being in the process of digesting myself it would have been a nastier more blame-laden process, though.

    On a more on-topic note, Barbie 1 makes me feel a lot better about my own artistic skills if someone actually got paid to do that picture. Also I covet Knitting Barbie’s living room. Mostly, though, I am learning that if I ever have a child I will have to work extra hard to counteract a fair bit of the expert guidance I’m given on how to make it healthy and happy. Which is not encouraging.

  101. I actually thought a different tagline, like “the fat girl you make fun of does exactly the same things you do.”

    I love this…and I say it as a grown up all the time, I as a fat person, do all the things you do…so why do you have the right to judge…..

  102. I just wanted to say, ‘Ruby’ made me so happy, all day long yesterday. In lots of non-overtly-food-or-body related ways. Like, I was in a place where I could have gotten all stressy and down on myself about work-related things, and I just didn’t. I was just calm and happy.

    And I know it sounds silly, but I think it really was all because I got to see a picture of a barbie-esque doll who looks like me… she really does, by the way, only my hair isn’t that color, and I have nipples etc, and am not quite so smoooooth… well, okay, not even close, but…. she looks happy, as well as beautiful. But it’s more than that. It’s the fact that someone… who?… went to all the trouble of making her, complete with belly and hips and slight suggestion of a back fat roll, and … it just seems like she was made lovingly. Not in a judgey way, just in a way that acknowledges that those molded plastic rolls are .. pretty.

    But is it fucked up that I’m now identifying with a Barbie, or, okay, Ruby, doll?

  103. I so want to be a pirate at a a boat party in a nice tropical location! All this needs is a caption saying “this is the life”. Change the props and you have an instant rum commercial. If I were a kid seeing toys that reflect the reality I see around me at every turn would make them feel more real, familiar and more fun. All theses dolls look like they’re having fun, Barbie #1 might be working but she has cool clothes and her very own phone and computer. What’s not to like? As a kid I wouldn’t have gotten this at all.

  104. Barbie #1has the one thing I’ve always wanted: a bed with curtains. Oh, and what I want right now: Chinese takeout. And a nice cat — mine is mean. Okay, I guess Barbie #1 has everything I want, except weirdly-photoshopped features. (Couldn’t they have found a reference photo of an actual fat person?)

  105. OK, adding to the “let’s not body shame thin people” spirit here…my ex was 6ft2 and 140 pounds. He was most definately compatible with life, actually he was in near-perfect health. He was just a skinny dude with a fast metabolism.

    Also, I’m a music journalist and a few months back I interviewed a guy who’s 5ft8 and about 110 pounds. Which admittedly was skinny enough to freak me out a bit, but he eats normally and has always been that thin, and he seems perfectly healthy. Some people are just thin, same way some people are just fat. Dude I interviewed was blogging his tour diary and it’s all went to McDonalds and had more burgers, all the time. And I think he was contemplating stealing my peppermint mocha.

    Metabolic set points, skinny people have them too.

  106. I think you’re being unfair to Christine.

    I think her premise is correct, that extreme thinness is likely to be more of a problem medically, than fatness.

    That goes also for weight loss, if you spontaneously lose weight, it’s seen as likely to be more serious than spontaneously gaining weight.

    Anorexia, is more of an emergency, than binge or compulsive eating.

    When people are elderly, as age really sets in, they tend (including fat people) to lose weight; fat as well as muscle.

    Where she went wrong was to draw an incorrect conclusion from that premise.

    That is not thin shaming and I think she could have been told that without this attitude.

    Especially considering the fact she trusted us with something very raw.

    I still remember when I noticed how thin I was (at the time).
    I happened to catch sight of the back of myself when running past a mirror.

    Something made me check back and I discovered something extrodinary.

    I had no arse.

    On closer inspection, that was wrong.

    My ‘arse’ appeared to be concave. Before that, I had no idea that was physically possible.

    I remember thinking, ‘that’s why it feels like it does when I sit down.’

  107. Elsajeni, I agree with bed-curtain love. I personally desire a big four-post bed, with a canopy. If I could afford or find them, I would totally hang tapestries up for the canopy part, just like they did in ye olde olde olden days. Then I would sit in my bed-cave and pretend to be a dragon. RAWR.

    … my future husband had better like playing dragon or else he’s gonna need to sleep on the couch a lot.

  108. Knitting Barbie!
    Does she get to go yarn-shopping and have Stitch n bitches with her friends, discuss cables, socks, her dog, best adaptations of Austen, the progress on her novel?
    I want one!

  109. You could totally make your own tapestries for bed hangings. It’d take for bloody ever, admittedly, but the content would clearly be better and less laden with insipid maidens etc. If I made my own they would feature me having tea and cake with a dragon while watching Doctor Who, which is almost certainly not commercially available.

  110. Just for the record, the Brazillian ads are encouraging people to donate toys they’re not using to relief efforts for some kind of crisis – they tag line is “This toy wasn’t made to just sit around.”

    So it’s a shame they’ve conflated the two, but they’re not really being used for any lifestyle message…

  111. Mim, that’s a great idea but I’m totally not talented (or patient!) enough to make my own tapestry. I was thinking I’d love to have reproductions of some of those Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries. But if I had my pick of what to include on a tapestry: unicorns, dragons, trees, stars, the moon, and a big hill. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to have one right over the top (facing me while I lay down to sleep) with a really cute topless fellow on it. Look, if guys get pinups I want one too! XD

    Speaking of pinups I wanted to mention something about the fat pirate toys, because Men in Full’s post on that image reminded me of yet another way those ads FAIL. That being, I would totally snog a guy that looked like that fellow in the back of the pic with the big earrings and the no-shirt.

    Geez, I really have making out on the brain today, don’t I? XD I blame not getting into grad school. I need some comforting steamy smoochings, I’m thinkin’.

  112. …so has Mattel sent the makers of the first ad a cease-and-desist letter yet? Or is it OK because that fat Barbie is a self-hating fat Barbie, whereas Ruby is fat and loves it?

  113. I know everyone else has said it, but I love the Ruby Doll. As a younger (I’m just now 23) woman with big smooshy breasts, I find her pair absolutely fascinating. Especially the way she’s posed. I’ve been thinking all day about how awesome her doll boobs are and I think it’s sort of helping me re-appreciate mine. I spend my working time during the day in a narrow kitchen and bakery environment (with two female co-workers out of 70) where space is a definite premium, so I put a lot of effort into making sure they’re strapped down and restrained before I take off to work in the morning. I think they’re long overdue for some special treatment – I’m definitely taking the girls out for a fancy-free swim at the beach come summer and having my picture taken with them in that pose, too!

  114. “(Couldn’t they have found a reference photo of an actual fat person?)”

    Well, they HAVE them, but they’re all headless …

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