Via Manchester Friends of the Earth. Via: Bikes for All.
I love cycling but I do not love this ad. Fat people ride bikes. Thin people drive cars. Not everyone is a speedy cyclist, fat or thin.
To me, the road symbolises a road to becoming fat… not a literal statement that car drivers are fat or cyclists are thin, rather that there are options available in our day to day activities that can compliment healthy lifestyles.
Yeh but no.
Health does not come in fat and thin.
When I ride my bike I cop heaps of abuse AND I am too scared to ride in city bike lanes. So i ride around quiet streets and parks. Where I still cop abuse.
It must be nice to reduce the world to such simplicity. I can’t do that because this sort of bullshit ad uses my body as a cautionary tale that actually prevents me from doing fun and useful things like riding places in the bike lane.
Also, what about people who live too far away from work to ride? People with disabilities? Idk thinking critically is pretty easy.
If you respond to criticism of fat shaming by saying, “Oh, you don’t get it. Its not saying fat people are literally evil, slovenly monsters. Its saying fat people are SYMBOLICLY evil, slovenly monsters. Duh!” then you can just do everyone involved a favor and not say anything.
This ad is pure fat shaming. Pure fat stigmatization. That is its purpose. That is its message. And it is bullshit. Fat people bike. Fat people walk. Fat people drive. Fat people take mass transit. Some fat people probably even boat and fly as part of their regular commutes. And thin people do all of that, too. I’m sure “Love your Bike” wants to encourage cycling and that’s fine. Do it without stigmatizing fat people to promote yourself. This is the same sort of bullshit we see all the time from P.E.T.A., just with a more marketable veneer. Promoting your agenda by demonizing fat people is bullshit. Its bad enough we have to deal with people whose agenda IS demonizing fat people, but we rotuinely find ourselves cast as the villain to promote cycling, animal rights, global warming, sustainable farming, school lunch programs, and pretty much anything else people can think of.
Bolded emphasis in the above commentary is mine, because it’s so fucking true. Shit like this is what contributes to my anxiety about being active in public spaces on a daily basis.
Society screams at me every day, “GET OUT AND BE ACTIVE, FATTY!” but then when I do, I am ridiculed for my fatness, and/or feel this impending sense of crushing judgement from everyone around me and how my fat body is being perceived. How dare I be fat, and yet - how dare I be active and visibly fat in public! There is no winning.
FUCK this ad and everything it implies.