Gillette is no stranger to controversy.
The razor company tackled toxic masculinity last January in a controversial ad that engaged with the #MeToo movement by replacing the brand’s 30-year tagline “The best a man can get” with “The best men can be.” While it garnered praise among those who agreed that there is no place in proper society for bullying, sexual harassment, and toxic masculinity, it was also bombarded with abuse from those who saw it as an “emasculating” attack on men.
Now, Gillette Venus’ latest ads have ignited a similar sort of debate around fat phobia.
The personal care product company last week shared a photo of plus-size model Anna O’Brien (AKA Glitter and Lazers) splashing around in the ocean alongside the caption “Go out there and slay the day.”
Go out there and slay the day ?? ? Glitter + Lazers pic.twitter.com/cIc0R3JfpR
— Gillette Venus (@GilletteVenus) April 3, 2019
Undoubtedly, the image was meant to encourage body positivity and celebrate diversity within the modeling industry. O’Brien, who is a body positive model and activist, wrote on her blog: “I run my online personality with heart, which means my opinions cannot be bought.”
“If I review something positively- it’s because I actually like it. I might be provided goods or in some case ever paid to try out and experiment with a product, but every collaboration comes with the caveat- I will write what I believe. I blame this on the bad case of ethics and morals I was born with.”
But many of the replies to the campaign accused Gillette of “glorifying obesity” and of “normalizing” an unhealthy lifestyle for profit.
A huge number of commentators weighed in on Anna’s health status, debating her likelihood of having or developing diabetes and heart disease.
(Anna’s blog and Instagram posts reveal she does, in fact, practice yoga and running.)
Others praised Gillette for championing body diversity in their ads.
Gillette Venus replied to the criticism in a subsequent tweet:
“Venus is committed to representing beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, and skin types because ALL types of beautiful skin deserve to be shown. We love Anna because she lives out loud and loves her skin no matter how the “rules” say she should display it”
Anna, for her part, doesn’t really care what you think.
“Fun fact: I literally do not care what most people think of me,” she wrote in a caption on Instagram. “There are a few people close to my heart whose opinions matter, but for the most part my self-perception, is self-generated.”
h/t Bored Panda