April 12, 2016 – Those few extra lbs put on during the holidays motivate many to join a gym and, who knows, maybe so does the fear of being abducted by aliens. Fit4Less, a gym in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, England, is hoping the latter will work after posting a billboard featuring an alien with the text “They’re coming…and when they arrive they’ll take the FAT ones first!” Those who are generously proportioned are directed to save themselves by following the pink arrow shown below. Nobody seems to be questioning the existence of aliens, because nobody puts David Duchovny in the corner, but also mainly because focus has been on labeling the advert as feeding into the art of fat shaming. Internet trolls have brought us many a shamings in recent years: fat, skinny, slut, breastfeeding. Chrissy Teigen even taught us that cereal shaming is an actual, honest-to-God thing that people can do.
“this sort of fat shaming humour is offensive”
Critics of the advert are highlighting the connection between fat shaming and bullying related to weight struggles. Natalie Harvey, founder of Combat Bullying, reacted strongly after driving by the sign. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. It’s 2016 – this sort of fat shaming humour is offensive,” she said.
Adweek also pointed out that we haven’t come very far as a society. The alien master plan to take the fat ones first was also used to drive up business by a San Fransisco 24 Hour Fitness back in 1999.
And Fit4Less is following 24 Hour Fitness’ stance at the time by defending the advert and currently refusing to take it down.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously – I’m a 45-year-old-man who is 17.5 stone and proud of it – but I’m healthy with it,” Jan Spaticchia, chief executive of Energie Group who owns Fit4Less, told the Derby Telegraph. “We have found that by taking a lighthearted approach we can connect with more people who would enjoy what we have to offer. It’s a little harmless fun.”
Harmless fun or outdated bullying? It’s time for you to ummm…weigh in. Is the alien fat shaming campaign Funny or Offensive? VOTE and COMMENT now…