Fitness Magazine

Lady Gaga, the VMAs and Fat Shaming

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

ShamelessA little over a year ago to great fanfare Lady Gaga started her “Body Revolution”  She opened up about her struggles with an eating disorder and reached out to her fans saying

My weight/loss/gain since i was child has tormented me. No amount of help has ever healed my pain about it. But YOU have.  This is who I am. And I am proud at any size. And i love you, and want you to be proud in any form you may take as well.”

I thought that was a decent step and it was nice to see someone who supported my rights as a queer person also support body positivity.

Tonight one of her songs was used on a really unfortunate commercial for KIA that aired on the VMAs:

If you don’t care to watch, it’s a commercial for KIA using the hamsters from previous ads. It starts with the hamsters (who are fat) having difficulty running, doing a ton of exercising and then finally stepping out of the KIA onto  the red carpet with Lady Gaga’s song “applause” in the background. According to Kia

It’s sleeker, sexier and more sophisticated than ever. And we’re not just talking about the 2014 Kia Soul. The formerly frumpy Kia Hamsters have totally transformed themselves into lean, mean, head-turning machines, much like the all-new Soul. Watch as they hit the gym and shed their furry folds to the tune of the latest and greatest anthem from Lady Gaga, Applause.

So what have we learned?  Fat people are frumpy, thin people are attractive, and companies like Kia will use fat shaming to sell anything and everything.  It’s not that hamsters have jack to do with cars, it’s that Kia is expecting that their Hamster Biggest Loser episode will go viral. It’s doubly unfortunate that they are using a song from someone who knows firsthand how dangerous this can be, which sort of says “yeah body positivity or whatever but, I mean, obviously not for fat people!”

When we talk about these things we often get criticized for discussing things that are   “too trivial,”  Fat hamsters losing weight they’ll say, who cares?  I care, because the message that fat is bad and thin is good is so ubiquitous as to be inescapable and the way you can tell is that it’s being done with anthropomorphized hamsters to sell a car, using the music of someone who has spoken out against the single stereotyping of beauty upon which the commercial is based. By the way, I am well aware that Lady Gaga may not have anything to do with the use of her song in this ad campaign, but it would be great if she spoke out against it.

If we don’t notice these things and call bullshit then they can easily slip into our subconscious and we can start to buy into the idea that of course thin is better than fat.  When we don’t say anything then companies think that it’s perfectly fine to use the “thin good/fat bad” concept to market anything because fat people are totally acceptable to use as scape goats, that fat bodies are just theirs for the metaphoring and, to me, that’s not ok.  So I’ll let those involved know how I feel and a Kia will not be in my future.

Activism Opportunities are below in case this one speaks to you as something to speak out about:

Let Kia know how you feel:

Ask Lady Gaga to speak out

Like the blog?  Here’s more of my stuff!

Become a member: For just ten bucks a month you can keep this blog ad-free, support the activism work I do, and get deals from cool businesses Click here for details

The Book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details

Interviews with Amazing Activists!!  Help Activists tell our movement’s history in their own words.  Support In Our Own Words:  A Fat Activist History Project!


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog