You’d think that in this day and age, the fitness world would know that body shaming masses of people isn’t the best way to attract customers, but a recent gym ad saying that women shouldn’t be pear-shaped suggests that not everyone has gotten the message. Last weekend, Gold’s Gym Dreamland, a subfranchise of Gold’s Gym located in Egypt, posted an image on Facebook with a photo of a pear and the slogan “This is no shape for a girl.” Get it? Because a woman who is pear-shaped is inherently defective, see? God forbid she resemble the wrong fruit!
Ugh, gross. Thankfully, public response to the ad has been swift and ferocious, essentially boiling down to: What is this fat-shaming, sexist nonsense? Gold’s Gym Egypt and Gold’s Gym have since apologized for the post and have distanced themselves from the Gold’s Gym Dreamland subfranchise.
While Gold’s Gym’s rejection of the ad is a good thing, that doesn’t make the original post any less offensive. Let’s be clear: Women (and men, of course, and all humans in general) are allowed to be whatever shape they are. They do not have to conform to arbitrary notions of what constitutes the “right” kind of body. This body shaming approach seems especially problematic at a gym, a place that should be encouraging people to exercise and promote their own health, not criticizing them for the natural shapes of their bodies. Here’s what the original post looked like:
Charming, right? And to prove just how backward and out of touch this attitude is, here’s an ad using the same imagery and slogan… in 1967:
Needless to say, social media users were not pleased:
Gold’s Gym Dreamland later apologized for the post on Facebook, but the apology was…odd, to say the least:
This post was not meant to offend anyone, and not against god's creation, or any type of women's body, it was meant to refer to a Healthy Fit body and cutting fats, NOT THE ACTUAL STRUCTURE OF THE BODY. So Again our Apology. for all the women out there. ( via Revelist )
Gold’s Gym Dreamland’s Facebook page has since been removed, which is probably a good thing, considering that this pear-themed ad doesn't seem to have been the gym’s only body-shaming post.
Gold’s Gym corporate condemned the ad on Twitter, saying that it came from the subfranchisee, not the brand as a whole. The company also complained that Gold’s Gym Dreamland wasn’t responding to their messages:
Gold’s Gym released a longer apology on Facebook, in which the company describes Gold Gym Dreamland’s posts as “offensive and disgusting” and insists that “they go against everything we believe in and stand for.” Gold’s Gym adds that it is “in the process of expediting the termination of this sub-franchisee’s agreement.” Gold’s Gym Egypt has also issued an apology.
Let’s all take a moment to recap: Regardless of what kind of fruit you most resemble (and why are we comparing human bodies to fruit, anyway?), whatever shape your body happens to be is, in fact, the right shape. Human bodies come in all different forms, and they are all good. Simple.