The answer, in short, is absolutely NOT! Lush have recently been the victims of huge backlash over their ‘what the health’ promotion campaign, which featured an image on instagram of overweight women posing naked, and included some statistics on obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Users instantly took offense to the image, slamming the previously body positive brand for ‘fat-shaming’ overweight people. So it’s time we talked about body positivity…
The body comes in all shapes and sizes. Each variation is beautiful. That is body positivity.
The body comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of these sizes are healthier, while others have greater risks of disease and early death. That is a fact.
Health comes in all shapes and sizes. For some people, being a petite size 6 with a BMI suggesting you are underweight is healthy, natural and right for them. For others, a larger frame with a slightly overweight BMI is just as healthy and natural for them. Health is not just for those who occupy the middle ground. However, at extreme ends of the spectrum, people being severely underweight (increasing the risk of infertility, vitamin deficiencies and heart failure) or significantly overweight (increasing the risk of some types of cancer, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes) is not healthy.
If someone is severely underweight or significantly overweight, they are still beautiful! All bodies are beautiful, and body positivity applies to all, rather than being exclusionary. Conversely, you cannot argue that these same people are healthy.
People are so reluctant to talk about health and weight issues, for fear of ‘fat-shaming’ or ‘skinny-shaming’ that the issue is being ignored. This is contributing to a lack of conversation about healthy lifestyles, which, in turn, breeds an unhealthy society. If people weren’t so quick to take offense, and associate the term ‘unhealthy’ with ‘unattractive’ then maybe we could have an open discussion about health.
While the Lush team were quick to apologise for any offense caused, and went as far as to ask instagram users how they would like to see health matters approached, some users are still looking to boycott the brand. Do those users take offense at the now deleted image of overweight naked women? If so, do they also take offense to the statistics and facts posted by lush? Is highlighting the link between obesity and poor health offensive too?
To those people looking to boycott the brand: you have every right to be offended by the campaign, and act on that as you will. But remember that by boycotting lush, you are not just boycotting ‘body-shaming’. You are also boycotting a natural, environmentally conscious brand that overtly speaks out against animal testing. If we start boycotting brands that promote the welfare of animals, will these brands continue to exist?