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Special K rips off body-positive Yay Scales to sell weight loss

Date: January 14, 2011 | Posted By:
Woman's feet on a scale reading "courage"

Courage: To be had only after **taking the Special K challenge**

As I watched the Today Show the other morning, my jaw dropped in disbelief to see that once again, a body-positive message had been co-opted — nay, full-on stolen — by a corporation selling foods for weight loss, in the name of “health”. The awesome Yay Scales, created by Marilyn Wann (incredible author and fat activist) now appear on Special K commercials. Without consultation or permission.

Here’s the commercial, followed by a video of About-Face volunteers using Yay Scales to challenge beliefs about weight.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Yay Scales are bathroom scales doctored to say positive words like “perfect”, “fantastic” and “gorgeous” instead of numbers indicating weight.

This is about stealing a clearly brilliant idea, and it’s about twisting a message that is so clearly about accepting our bodies as they are today, NOT only when we lose weight.

Marilyn has been taking Yay Scales to streets and events for many years now, and she personally taught us how to make ours.

What’s the upshot besides super-capitalistic intellectual property infringement? Well, actually it’s about weight loss messages. Special K’s message, circuitous though it may be, says that when women take the Special K challenge (by standing on a scale in Central Park?) they will gain pride, confidence, and courage.

[Don't even get me started on the Special K Challenge itself. See "The Problem with the Special K Challenge" over there on Jezebel.]

Because really, you can’t feel those wonderful emotions until you lose a bunch of weight!? That’s almost worse than saying your worth is measured by a number on a scale.

From Marilyn Wann’s press release:

“I care way too much about being healthy and happy to try to get there through weight loss,” said Wann, an international spokesperson for fat civil rights. “It’s not about settling, it’s about celebrating! I hope Kellogg’s next ad campaign encourages all of its customers to eat well and enjoy their bodies. Here’s a slogan they can use: ‘What do you gain when you lose self-hate?’” (The current campaign’s slogan: “What do you gain when you lose?”)

If you want a REAL Yay Scale for yourself, go to VoluptuArt and get yourself one of Marilyn’s! It’ll be the best $45 you ever spent.

Click “More” below to see Marilyn Wann’s full press release.

–Jennifer

PRESS RELEASE

Hey, Kellogg’s: Lose the hate, not the weight

Fat Activist re: Kellogg’s New Ad Campaign-”Lose the Hate, not the Weight!”

Creator of original Yay! Scale, Marilyn Wann, says, “Yay for removing numbers from the equation and boo for encouraging ‘serial’ dieting.”

SAN FRANCISCO, California-Leading fat activist Marilyn Wann congratulates Kellogg’s for a new ad campaign that tells women not to “focus on numbers on the scale.”

“It truly is not what the numbers on the scale read, but how you feel about yourself that allows you to project beauty and confidence to the world,” Kellogg’s spokesperson Jesper Lund Jacobsen said.

“I couldn’t agree more!” said Wann, FAT!SO? author and creator of the original Yay! Scale, a self-esteem-boosting bathroom scale that gives compliments instead of numbers.

Kellogg’s unveiled a similar scale in Times Square yesterday. In the company’s version, life gains – “confidence,” “sass,” “pride” – depend on losing weight.

“Women of all sizes can feel confident, sassy, and proud right now,” said Wann. “I was so excited when I heard Kellogg’s telling women not to worry about the numbers on the scale. We all know that the vast majority of people who lose weight will regain it within a year or two. Decades of medical data say this is true. Kellogg’s just didn’t go far enough. Why would they tell women the good things in life rely on the unreliable approach of ‘serial’ dieting?”

Increasing numbers of scientists and medical experts are urging people to focus on health and happiness instead. Good nutrition and exercise habits last longer when they are not part of a weight-loss effort, researchers find. (JADA 105 #6 [2005]: 929-936.) The Association for Size Diversity and Health endorses the approach, called Health At Every Size(SM).

For people who want to be more physically active, HAES experts offer fun fitness DVDs:

www.thefatchick.com

www.gratefulspirityoga.net

www.kellybliss.com

“I care way too much about being healthy and happy to try to get there through weight loss,” said Wann, an international spokesperson for fat civil rights. “It’s not about settling, it’s about celebrating! I hope Kellogg’s next ad campaign encourages all of its customers to eat well and enjoy their bodies. Here’s a slogan they can use: ‘What do you gain when you lose self-hate?’” (The current campaign’s slogan: “What do you gain when you lose?”)

The original Yay! Scale is available for purchase at www.voluptuart.com.

For data on the failure rate of weight-loss dieting:

Journal of the American Medical Association 295 #1 (2006): 39-49.

Journal of the American Medical Association 297 #9 (2007): 969-77.

NEw England Journal of Medicine 338 #1 (1998): 52-54.

International Journal of Obesity 22 (1998): 89-96.

International Journal of Obesity 20 #1 (1996): 47-55.

International Journal of Obesity 18 (1994): 145-54.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 70 (1999): 965-73.

NIH Technology Assessmennt Conference on Methods for Voluntary Weight Control (1992).




What Do You Think?

2 Responses to Special K rips off body-positive Yay Scales to sell weight loss

  1. Tweets that mention A B O U T – F A C E — blog » Special K rips off body-positive Yay Scales to sell weight loss -- Topsy.com on 01-14-2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ginnie B, About-Face. About-Face said: Special K rips of Special K rips off @MarilynWann 's body-positive Yay Scales to sell weight loss http://about-face.org/blog/archives/4398 [...]
  2. Elizabeth on 01-14-2011

    Thanks for this post. I really think the About-Face video is great. And Marilyn Wann's Yay Scales are really positive. It's extremely sad that Special K used something so positive for a message that's completely insidious.