Columbia University doctoral student Larkin Callagan recently took down Skinny Water in a piece that made its way to both Sociological Images and Jezebel.
She highlights a disturbing new ad which features a ‘famous’ woman being photographed by the paparazzi with the words “Skinny Always Gets The Attention.”
“Despite paltry efforts to market itself as healthy, Skinny Water is instead perpetrating the cultural message that the best — or only — way to ensure that women get attention is by being skinny. This of course positions them well to try to push their product on those women who have been pulled into this lie. In fact, Skinny Water is doing precisely the opposite of what a health-conscious company and product should be doing. Promoting the idea that those who are skinny deserve attention more than others creates communities that support harmful diet-related behaviors and disordered eating for the goal of a wispy appearance. Not to mention reinforcing the ever-present undercurrent of bias against the overweight – or even normal weight! — it reinforces the idea that women’s size and appearance is the most important thing about them…These are madly marketed products that don’t substitute for a healthy, well-rounded diet. Instead, they capitalize on the now-entrenched notion that women care more about being skinny than anything else.”
Callagan points out how by focusing on the idea of “skinny,” which plays to women’s insecurities about society’s image of beauty, the drink’s manufacturers present a fraudulent notion of well-being. While “Skinny” (or, perhaps more accurately “considered attractive”) tends to get attention, it doesn’t always bring with it good health. There are skinny smokers, skinny anorexics (who would likely be triggered by this ad, btw), skinny people with high cholesterol, skinny folks who have no concept of diet or exercise and simply get by based on their metabolism … “Skinny” is not a healthy goal to promote.
Women should be encouraged to be active and to eat well in order to achieve their desired appearance.