Muffin Tops! Fat Brides! Dieting! Oh My!

Is Big Brother Trying to Tell You Something?

Is Big Brother Trying to Tell You Something?

Dr. Robyn Silverman

The advertisers have been more and more relentless these days.  Everywhere you look, we’re told we’re not good enough.  Girls. Boys. Men. Women.  Really, nobody is safe.

While it’s typical for advertisers to target their audience by advertising on the “right” web pages, the “optimal” radio stations, and the “correct” TV channels, things have been getting more and more like “Big Brother” as we march on towards the end of this decade.  I’ll be emailing along on Gmail and there’s a bunch of advertisements based on what I’m writing in my emails.  My space and Facebook are shoved tight with targeted ads based on profiles…weight, height, status, location, interests.  It gives me the heebie jeebies.  And nobody likes the heebie jeebies.

So when I read the article in the Washington Post report recently about one writer who was the target of relentless weight loss ads, it really turned my stomach.  On Facebook, likely because her status was “engaged” and because advertisers know that women get a little self conscious and weight conscious when it comes to fitting into the right way-to-expensive-for-one-day wedding dress, an onslaught of weight-losing ads came her way. So much for positive body image.

Every time I logged in to my home page, Facebook’s ads screamed at me with all the subtlety of a drill sergeant: “MUFFIN TOP.” This particular ad had a picture of someone with said affliction….After…Facebook got even more vicious, like a schoolyard bully provoked by my initial reaction. With the knowledge that I was engaged to be married, the site splashed an ad across the left side of the screen playing into a presumed vulnerability. Do you want to be a fat bride? You’d better go to such-and-such Web site to learn how to lose weight before the big day.

Is this happening to you?

And the young girls and boys who are on FaceBook and treat it like a religion– how do you think these advertisements are impacting them?  It seems to me that we’ve allowed freedom of press to take over freedom of privacy…what do you think?

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