Since the dawn of modern advertising, it seems that some companies’ mission is to make women feel like they have something to fix.
Unfortunately, not much has evolved since the time of Mad Men. Case in point? This huge billboard that was just erected in Times Square.
Flat Tummy Co., a company that Kim Kardashian has endorsed on her Instagram, sells shakes, teas, and now lollipops that are meant to suppress your appetite and cravings.
While selling diet products certainly isn’t new — the issue that many Twitter users have with the recent billboards promoting the product is its blatant marketing toward women. More specifically, critics are calling the advertisements sexist and infantilizing.
British actress Jameela Jamil had a few choice words for the company.
The ads are above the best pizza joint in New York City, Mama Sbarro’s, as if suggesting you should suck on a lollipop instead of indulging in a slice of pizza.
Twitter users agreed with the actress about the billboards, some going so far as claiming the ads were also targeting children — especially considering the ad is for candy and children as young as 5 are prone to body image issues.
Babes, tummy, lollipops – the infantilisation couldn't be clearer – and it shades into both targeting children in their drugs based diets, and also the sexualisation of children. Disgusting
— Sarah May (@Sarah_May1) July 10, 2018
Flat Tummy Co. has received plenty of backlash that echoes The Good Place star’s tweet on Instagram as well.
Jamil called out Kim Kardashian’s promotion of the product in May, tweeting: “No. You terrible and toxic influence on young girls. I admire their mother’s branding capabilities, she is an exploitative but innovative genius, however this family makes me feel actual despair over what women are reduced to.”
She went on to write, “MAYBE don’t take appetite suppressors and eat enough to fuel your BRAIN and work hard and be successful. And to play with your kids. And to have fun with your friends. And to have something to say about your life at the end, other than ‘I had a flat stomach.'”
Products of this nature are not new. Most of these “detox teas,” including Flat Tummy Co.’s Cleanse Tea, contains the herb senna. Senna is a natural laxative.
The company’s lollipops contain “Satiereal,” which is derived from saffron plants. One study suggests that a daily supplement of Satiereal did suppress some women’s appetites. However, the first ingredients on the lollipops are cane sugar and brown rice syrup.
While it may suppress your appetite, that may not be a good thing. “Sure, maybe it does satisfy a craving — because you’re having sugar,” says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet. “And if you have a craving for sweets, it would make sense that this might help. But I would recommend a square of dark chocolate, which has health benefits, rather than grab one of these lollipops.”
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