An Australian sanitary towel firm is facing a backlash over an advert which shows a woman on her period transforming into an unstable and larger version of herself, which viewers have complained is fat-shaming.
The SOFY BeFresh advert, called "Ugh Moments", shows a woman heading for her front door, where she meets a fuller-figured version of herself dressed in identical clothing. She sighs when she checks her phone calendar and realises she’s starting her period.
Showing the scenario that would unfold if the woman didn’t use the product the advert is pedalling, the woman gorges on ice cream and pizza, binge-watches TV and is generally irritated by everything around her.
“Goodbye ugh” is then emblazoned across the screen, and is followed by an alternate ending in which the woman leaves her irrational and emotional alter-ego behind to get on with her day after using the product.
While some enjoyed the video for satirising the discomfort women feel during their periods, others were disappointed that a larger woman was used for comedic affect and accused the commercial played on "hackneyed" stereotypes.
The larger actress who appeared in the video responded to the criticism by saying “I reckon I’m a massive babe”.
But many argued that it was insulting to recruit a larger actor to demonstrate a visual metaphor of when a woman is a worse version of herself.
My problem with the #sofybefresh ad is that they could've made it with the same actress. They didn't need "the fat girl" to make it "funny"— Jotopia Vintage (@ohmymsjones) September 9, 2015
So Pretty & thin = good: Fat and emotional = bad. Okay I understand the world better now. Thanks #sofybefresh.— Jotopia Vintage (@ohmymsjones) September 9, 2015
Even dudes can see how blatantly sexist it is #SofyBeFresh— that's me (@anthea_yeah) September 9, 2015
I'm no marketing expert but period AND fat shaming your target market is probably not the best advertising strategy #sofybefresh— Dr Lyndel Shand (@drlyndel_shand) September 9, 2015
So let's perpetuate the fat-shaming stereotypes and misconception that all woman are unstable on their periods... #sofybefresh— Sandía (@Mrs_Sandia) August 24, 2015
An advice for next time when u want to promote a product it's unwise to paint a potential costumer as unstable & then fat-shame #SofyBeFresh— inactive/school (@NarglesInMySoup) August 23, 2015
The Independent has contacted Unicharm Australia, who manufactures the product, for a comment on the situation.
In a response to a complaint from a viewer, the firm wrote: "The SOFY BeFresh television commercial was extensively researched with Australian females before launching and we certainly do review all feedback from the research to ensure that the key message and terminology are appropriate for the market."
The video comes after YouTube star Nicole Arbour was criticised for a video in which she claimed that fat-shaming is “made up” and that she is attempting to help obese people lose weight.
"If we offend you so much that you lose weight I’m ok with that. Yep, I’ll sleep at night," she said.
So-called plus sized models including Tess Holliday hit back at Ms Arbour, and tweeted: "Fat shaming doesn’t save lives, it kills them."
"I refuse to watch clickbait like that. She doesn't deserve our clicks or our energy. Our existence doesn't need to be 'proved' or 'validated'. We need to continue to hold our heads high. Plus, a life well lived is the best revenge," she added.Reuse content