The above card appeared on my stories as a sponsored slide this morning and instantly made me rage as I screamed “Hey Thortful, how about you stop body shaming men”.
It is body shaming in its crudest form. It isn’t funny, it isnt banter, it isnt humorous, it is wrong. That’s the tweet.
We live in a time when many of us are doing all we can to promote body positivity, to call out body shaming, to ensuring that those of us with body issues know that we are more than our bodies, but so much of it seems to focus on women. Body confidence issues dont just affect women, they affect men too, and we need to recognise that and stop buying into the notion that is okay to shame men for their size, regardless of whether we think they are “weedy” or “beefy”. It is none of our business! Those men are more than their size, so why would you send this card?
A few years ago Jameela Jamil started a campaign called #iweigh that many of us joined in with. We listed what we weighed, not in terms of kilos but in terms of what we brought to the world’s table. You can read my post on it here “What do you weigh“ but it depresses me that whilst many of us are banging that drum, there are huge corporations like Thortful supporting the exact opposite and telling the world the exact opposite.
That here is a card that is solely focused on a man’s body image, that to celebrate a day meant to be about celebrating a father figure in our life, or in the life of our children we are saying thank you for all they have done over the years with a card that says “You are fat and need to do something about it”
Would they publish something similar for Mother’s Day? So why is okay for it to be done for Father’s Day?
According to Mental Health Foundation three in ten men over the age of 18 felt anxious about body image issues. Worryingly one in ten men have had suicidal thoughts because of body image issues, and 4% have deliberately hurt themselves because of those issues.
Let those statistics sink in for a moment.
Their Chief Executive Officer, Mark Rowland said in that piece
Body image is often seen as an issue that only affects women – but it is clear from our data that it is affecting millions of men in the UK as well.
“Men are also being surrounded by images of idealised body types – either through advertising or reality TV shows or digital media. It is important to recognize how this media environment can impact on men
We must also ask ourselves what displaying that card on a mantel piece says to the younger members of the house, the children. It tells them that it is okay to poke fun at other people over the size of their waistline. It makes it okay to bully, to criticise, to point out somebody else’s size and that is not okay. It tells them that they should be ashamed of their own shape. It lays the foundation for years of body confidence issues as they grow up.
I still carry the mental scars of childhood bullying over my size, thankfully I dont have physical scars but as the above report states, 4% of men do.
Maybe Thortful need to acknowledge their company name, and think more about the stock they carry and the damage body shaming men is doing. Think about the one in ten, and whether these cards contribute to one of those men becoming one of the 4%