Amazon Says “Stick a Fork In Him, He’s Fat”

Say Something SundayFor today’s Say Something Sunday post I want to talk about activism that reader Wendy Dirks recently engaged in (and gave me permission to share with you.) Wendy e-mailed me about an advertisement she saw from Amazon [linked provided, but trigger warning for fat hate]

http://www.advertolog.com/amazon/adverts/yoga-20911555/ The video is of a yoga class made up of women and one larger-bodied guy.  One of the women sees the man in Balasana pose (I think – I’m not a Yoga expert so correct me if I’m wrong…) she stares at him, and then a hand and wrist come into the frame holding a meat thermometer which then LITERALLY POKES THE FAT MAN.  In the next frame the fat man is replaced by a turkey which is then impaled with the meat thermometer and we find that all of the proceeding fat shaming was in the service of selling the Amazon app that would allow this woman to think about needing a meat thermometer and then buy one  using Amazon’s app.

Wendy e-mailed me:

I thought it was going to be something romantic – then, when the meat thermometer appeared, I was gobsmacked and burst out, “What the fuck is that!”

I am about to write to Amazon. Everyone should write to Amazon.

Wendy wrote a truly excellent letter:

Dear Customer Service:

If you check your records, you will find that I have been a customer of yours for many years and that I shop with you regularly. Last night I was watching the Newcastle United vs Manchester United football match when this advert came on: http://www.advertolog.com/amazon/adverts/yoga-20911555/.

At first I thought it was going to be something cute and romantic, like fat lad gets the lass. Then I watched as she imagined sticking a meat thermometer into him. Fat man as fat roasted meat. I cannot begin to tell you how offensive I found this. So many things were so incredibly wrong with this advert.

First of all, men do yoga. He was the only man in the class. Fat people do yoga. He was the only fat person in the class. If you doubt this, let me tell you that although I am a woman, I am fat woman who been practicing yoga for almost 30 years. Please have a look at this video, which is a lot closer to reality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnkG8U5WCwY&feature=youtu.be

Or perhaps you need to see fat men doing yoga. Here’s a fat male yoga teacher.

http://buddhabodyyoganyc.com

We don’t need to apologise for ourselves in yoga classes and we certainly don’t need to have somebody broadcast adverts that compare us to fat juicy roast chickens. In fact, we don’t have to apologise for our existence at all. How many of your customers do you think are fat? We’re supposed to be the fattest nation in Europe. I would to guess that you have a lot of fat customers. Do you really want to alienate them that way? Our money is just as valuable as that of thin people.

I look forward to your response.

Dr Wendy Dirks

 

That’s how it’s done!  Maybe you change the world, and maybe you don’t.  Too often we don’t engage in activism because we’re afraid that we won’t be perfect or that it won’t be enough to create change.  But perfection isn’t the goal – taking action is. The outcome isn’t within our control, all we can control is what we do.  Nobody is obligated to engage in activism, but everyone is welcome to engage in whatever way works for them – from posting something fat positive on Social Media to going to a protest.

If you’re thinking about justifying this, or saying that it’s no big deal, or not worth fighting, I welcome you to check out this post. The fact is, that people can make engaging and interesting ads that do not, in any way, involve cheap fat jokes.  (And if they can’t then they should seek employment elsewhere.)

If you’d like to let Amazon know how you feel, you can e-mail them at complaints@amazon.co.uk  you can also contact Rattling Stick advertising agency, who created the ad, at info@rattlingstick.com

If you have activism that you’ve engaged in that you’d like to tell me about, feel free to leave it in the comments or e-mail me at ragen@danceswithfat.org

 

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Published in: on January 17, 2016 at 11:13 am  Comments (15)  

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That was really disgusting. Also, thanks Amazon for reinforcing this ridiculous stereotype that yoga is only for thin people (or thin women, really). Idiots.

  2. Thank you so much, Ragen, for posting this! I hope some of your readers will be inspired to write to Amazon and the ad agency to let them know how they feel.

  3. Reblogged this on drdeahstastymorsels.

  4. Ugh. Just… AAAAARRRGGGGGHHHH.

    I had to watch this ad three times in a row to get the taste of vomit out of my mouth:

    Now THIS is a good ad! (The wink just kills me.)

    • I love it! Thanks for posting the link.

  5. About a year ago, I tried hot yoga. And right next to me was this…well, he looked like a mannequin for a Speedo ad. Rippled muscles, tight, toned, FIT.

    HE LASTED LIKE 20 MINUTES AND HAD TO LEAVE.

    No one else did. None of us mid-forty, less-than-solid folks had to bail.

    Yet I would never say “fit dudes have no biz in hot yoga.” Good on him for his first 20.

  6. I agree with you 100%! I would like to make a complaint if it would help. But I noticed that the email address is for Amazon UK website.

    Does anyone know whether it would help for someone from the USA to write a complaint, too? I’m an Amazon customer but I was wondering whether the UK website is a separate division. Maybe they would not care much about what folks outside the UK think since they are not targeting them as customers?

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

  7. Good on you, Wendy – that was a fabulously-written letter. Do update us when/if you get a response from Amazon!

  8. Casually objectifying fat bodies and imagining committing violence against them = HILARITY!

    …if you’re a Deadite. Seriously, advertisers, do you actually need someone to *explain* why commercials about roasting fat people for meat and cutting us open looking for thin people are spectacularly bad ideas?

    (Also… yet AGAIN, the target of the violence is a Good Fatty, and the “crime” that “justifies” the thin woman’s attack is that he’s fat and existing somewhere she can see him, in case any of us needed the reminder fatphobia isn’t about health, behavior, or anything but the socially unfashionable cosmetic apperance of fat bodies.)

  9. Hi there. You’re better off (if UK based) complaining to the advertising standards agency. I did just that and I know of one other person who has so far, think I will write to Amazon too. If more of us do this something may actully happen. I’m a fat man who’s just starting out doing yoga and this ad made me feel sick, literally. It literally confirmed nearly all of my worst fears and hangups, not just about doing yoga either.

  10. I had to watch this sick advert while I was at the gym. I’ve only just started at the gym and it took me a long time to gather up the courage to go and I worried a lot about what other people thought of me there. If the government is so concerned about the ‘obesity epidemic’ it should step in and ban this advert since it actively encourages bigger people to stay at home. Did you complain Dave to the ASA through their online contact form, Dave? I’m going to try and do the same, to the ASA and Amazon.

    • Yes I complained through their online form and I wrote to Amazon’s complaints email. I just described the ad as best I could, outlined what it implied at affect it has on people. Both have acknowledged my complaint and I’m now waiting to hear if they’ll proceed further. I’ve not seen the ad since I made the complaints, mind but then I don’t watch much TV. When did you see the ad? What channel? ASA need to know that info.

      I hope the ad has been taken off now but I wanna see more than that. I’d like to see the bastards fined.

  11. I saw this last night and it made me so mad I googled and found this site! I complained immediately to the ASA and have just sent an email to the 2 addresses you gave above, I’m glad it wasn’t just me that was upset by it.

    Good Morning

    I just wanted to say that I saw your advert for the amazon app last night, the one with the yoga class (I would have seen it twice but I managed to fast forward it the second time)

    What a truly horrible and mean spirited advert. I thought it was a bit off in the first couple of seconds when it showed a class full of slim women and 1 heavy man, but thought it might be about the women encouraging him or helping him….oh no it was actually about looking at him and thinking of a roast turkey which is such a negative portrayal of both the woman and the man.

    Nothing shouts “hey fat people, don’t bother exercising or you’ll be laughed at” more than this advert poking fun at the only fat male in the room, and although I have never made a complaint about a tv advert before you at least have inspired me to have such a strong negative feeling about your company that while this advert is still being aired I will not be buying a thing from you. I’m sure you don’t really care about one person not spending an odd £10 or £20 here and there, but maybe you should have a pop up banner when people are browsing fitness and sport items on your website “hey, by the way if you’re fat don’t bother buying as you’ll look stupid”

    Poor show, Amazon.

  12. I saw this advert and felt enraged by it! I did some research and found the actor in the advert (@alanmehdizadeh) on Twitter as I wanted to lend some support incase he gets unwanted feedback or comments, I then saw some of his other pictures and thought “he’s actually really cute” and got nervous about tweeting him to say I hope he doesn’t get any negative comments from anyone about the advert!
    I think it’s rude how he was made to look so insignificant and foolish, I wonder if he realised what it was going to be like before shooting?

  13. Hi there,
    I was relieved to read that people have complained extremely eloquently against the awful ad. I have written to Amazon to describe my personal disgust at their ad, I tried to offer the solidarity I feel. That ad was so ugly and nasty and bitchy quite frankly. It was also about the idea that he (apparently a fat chicken according to Amazon) likes her, but she’s not interested as he’s a fatty, so why would she be? Simply being chubbier than her apparently destroys any possibility that she could possibly like him back. What rubbish and what a horrible attitude, how offensive and shallow.

    So I said:
    Dear Amazon,
    I among many others I believe, am utterly disgusted by your cynical and obnoxious advert, which implies essentially, that the sweet faced chubby man in your advert is reminiscent of a fatty roast bird, and that that, by extension, is how we all view larger people in our society, and that that is an acceptable attitude. How dare you laugh at members of our society in this way. How arrogant and superficial and ugly to do that.
    It is a persons soul that matters, and you have a responsibility to fight against the constantly growing body fascism in our culture, not endorse it. It is revolting to dehumanise someone and belittle members of our society in this way. Would you ever do an advert showing a skeletally thin model being compared to a scrawny plucked chicken or a skeleton. I don’t think so. I think we all know that you wouldn’t make that particular joke. You felt that you could get away with making a cheap and nasty dig at fat people ( quite literally with the bird in the ad being speared in that sick way), which you could most certainly not do in the opposite scenario. You have a moral responsibility not to be putting this sort of thing out there. Your advert is an example of the most depraved and twisted attitudes that are at times at the moment sadly being cultivated in contemporary society. You should be reaching out to positive forces for the good of all and supporting all different bodies and types of people, and celebrating our differences.
    You do have a responsibility as an influential organisation to be a positive and moral example, and you acted shamelessly, and may well have caused considerable grief.
    I was horrified to see your ad. It should be removed, and you should apologise.

    Yours sincerely,
    Oona Hassim


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