Are ‘Real Women’ Campaigns Promoting Obesity?

Social media and the idea of ‘real beauty’ goes back to the MySpace days. When Dove launched its now-iconic 2006 beauty campaign using six everyday women instead of models, the ads went viral. There was a gap in the market for such campaigns, and even now that gap is slowly being filled, each consecutive Dove ad has caused a viral sensation. Their ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ became the most viral video ad of all time, having been viewed 114 million times.

Social media and ‘fitspo’ goes almost back just as far. There are thousands of bloggers and Instagrammers who have gained thousands of followers from posting pics either annoying or inspiring, depending on your personal taste for 21st century humans on caveman diets or whether you think fitspo is really just thinspo with abs — but hey, that’s another argument.

Now the “regular women” and the fitspo freaks are colliding head-on over the viral sensation bubbling up in the form of a Facebook campaign by Curvy Girl Lingerie. The company, which owner and blogger Chrystal Bougon touts as only the second plus-size lingerie store in the U.S., launched the campaign after a regular customer private messaged her to see if she was cool with posting a picture of herself in her panties and bra on our Curvy Girl secret group (“There are so many pics of models in lingerie, what about one of us regular chicks??”) Bougon said yes, and her curvy customers are now posting pictures of their unphotoshopped bodies on the company’s public Facebook page. They show women with rolls, bumps, lumps, scars, stretch marks, surgery scars, breasts that have fed babies.

Inspiring, right? WRONG. One mom who is not cool with being lumped into the kick-ass curvy mom category is Maria Kang, who you might remember as the rather fascinating “Hot Mom”. Back in the news for the first time since her “What’s your excuse?” picture (depicting a very ab-ly Kang in a crop top surrounded by her three young children) went viral. Hot Mom was banned from Facebook for using “hate speech” after she voiced her concerns about the campaign. ““I was a little peeved because while I feel like it’s ok to love and accept your body, I think that we’re normalizing obesity in our society,” her “non-apology” reads.

Kang’s right to keep her Facebook followers up-to-date with her hot mom-ness has now been restored, but she’s arguing that her right to freedom of speech has been impaired. She was simply voicing an opinion, and while it was a shallow one, we agree it was pretty dumb of Facebook to shut it down the way Kang is shutting down women attempting to love their bodies. She’s also arguing that the dangers of obesity are very real. This is correct. Though being disgusted by photos of women who don’t fit her ideal is hardly the way to tackle it — it’s just straight-up body shaming. Plus it’s highly unlikely that a Kang-bodied visitor to the Curvy Girl Facebook page would come away with an overwhelming new desire to become obese. Larger woman can be confident enough to wear lingerie? PASS ME THE CALTEEN BARS!

Maria Kang, we non-accept your non-apology. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this is no time for feeling guilty about the calorie content of stuffing.

Bougon, on the other hand, is meeting the CBS news crew at her San Jose store for a “hot mom” rebuttal interview. Stay posted.

What do you think about the Curvy Girl Facebook campaign?

Related links:
Plus-Size Model Robyn Lawley Blasts the ‘Thigh Gap’ Trend
Helena Christensen on How to Look Good in Lingerie
Dove’s Latest ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign Video Will Give You Goosebumps

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