To make history you have to do what has never been done before. You have to dare to be different, to stand out, to go against the grain. Everyday in every way and everything we do, we are fed the same messages: if you’re fat, you’re unhealthy and you need to lose weight. Even if you aren’t fat, society is consistently shaming bodies that don’t look or perform a certain way, to their standards, and forcing weight loss ads and fads down our throats; literally.
With all the ads, fads, crash diets, gym memberships and wellness tips disguised as anti fat propaganda, pinterest is making history and becoming the first major platform to ban weight loss ads! I KNOW…you’re shocked, right? I was shocked when I found out as well. But honestly, it’s about time.
How many times have you been scrolling through your favorite app minding your business and there it goes: a sponsored ad letting you know that by only consuming air, drinking water, and exercising 300 hours a week, you can lose X amount of weight in just 10 days? I’ll wait.
The pandemic body
With people battling body image issues, eating disorders, and also recognizing that these numbers have skyrocketed throughout the past year and a half of COVID, Pinterest decided to do something new. People are being social again and when you’re body has changed, whether drastically or not, it creates a certain anxiety when you’re in community with people. I’ve had so many conversations with friends over the past 2-3 months about their “pandemic bodies,” their anxiety going outside to show these new bodies off, and their fear of judgement along with the pressure to get back to their “pre pandemic weight.” I’ve even began falling victim and prey to this thinking.
But with this new research emerging, Pinterest has shared they are an app where pinners come to create the life they want and this should be able to happen no matter your size or shape! I KNOW THAT’S RIGHT.
Pinterest is committed to building a safe and inspiring space for all users and I think in the year 2021, not only is this important but it is long overdue. Pinterest choosing to champion content that celebrates body neutrality and acceptance shouldn’t be viewed as revolutionary but should be the standard. I’m grateful Pinterest has decided to this and as of July 1st they’ve rolled out new policies for their platform that prohibit ads with weight loss language and imagery.
Some of the policies that stand out to me the most and I’m delighting in are: banning testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products, referencing BMI (Body Mass Index), and any imagery that denigrates a certain body type or size. We do not talk about how triggering and violent before and after pictures are for communities and the message those images and testimonials send about people living in “before” image bodies and at this time we should all know how anti Black and rooted in racism the BMI is. Exactly who’s body mass index were being studied when these numbers were being created? It sure as hell wasn’t a Black woman from the Caribbean.
Among these new ground breaking policies, Pinterest has opened a wider discussion on body neutrality and even redirects pinners who search eating disorders to organizations like the National Eating Disorder Association so they can receive the professional support and resources they might need or be looking for.
This is advocacy. This is using your platform to positively impact communities. Tabria Majors, model and pinterest creator, has shared that she’s excited to be apart of this campaign because,”promote acceptance and empower others to develop a positive relationship with their bodies.”
Even though this isn’t going to eradicate fatphobia, diet culture, body shaming, desirability politics or any structures that impart violence on larger people’s bodies, this is a step into the right direction and I hope with the precedent Pinterest has set, other major platforms will follow suit. It’s relieving to know I can browse Pinterest and I won’t be triggered by ads telling me to lose weight or to showing me the latest crash diet. We are looking for positive body images, affirming words and ideologies, and communities where we can reimagine our bodies in their fullness (all puns intended) being loved and adored as is. Shout out to pinterest for being one of those places.
Have you heard about Pinterests new policies? What are your thoughts? Are you an avid Pinterst user and will you be using it more often now? Let me know what you think!