Protein World have chosen the slogan "Are You Beach Body Ready?" to appear alongside a photograph of model Renee Somerfield advertising their Weight Loss Collection. Read what Richard Staveley, head of global marketing for Protein World, told HuffPost UK Lifestyle, in response to the controversy here.
Fiona Longmuir and Tara Costello staged a protest by posing in their bikinis, in the London Underground, alongside the offending poster. They then tweeted their photo with the slogan " How to get a beach body? Take your body to the beach."
I was eager to find out what made them take this stand.
In a week where plus sized bodies has been debated heavily in the news how do you think your stand fits into the debate?
Fiona - I think this advert is part of a broader message that says women should look a certain way for public consumption. And I think what we need to be yelling is that women weren't made for public consumption.
Tara - I think our stand fits perfectly, as we are challenging everything that is currently being discussed and debated. Nobody should be made to feel that they need to moderate themselves before being seen as beautiful or beach ready. Whether it's an advertising campaign, some ill-advised words, nobody should make you feel bad about your body
What is it about this particular advert and it's message that struck a cord with you?
Fiona - I'm sick of this idea that looking like a model is the bare minimum women can do. It didn't suggest that the product would make you feel amazing, it would make you "ready". As if Renee is the minimum standard for public appearance.
Tara - The entire premise of this campaign is utterly ridiculous. I am tired of seeing one body type pushed across advertising campaigns, television and everywhere else. Us women are great and we come in all different shapes and sizes.
Why strip? Couldn't you have made your point another way?
Fiona - I though that posing like this would provide an interesting comparison to the poster, as well as showing our confidence. Are we beach ready in those bodies? Hell yes we are!
Tara - We needed a way of getting our point across that made an impact. I feel photographs do that more than words hence the saying "a photo speaks a thousand words." We felt this was the best way to challenge this horrendous advert directly. As there is a woman in a bikini on billboards, what better way to challenge its very premise than standing next to it in our bikinis declaring ourselves already beach body ready.
What would you say to people who say "it's OK for you to take this stand because you're slim?"
Fiona - I hold a lot of thin privilege, and I'm aware of that. But I'm still far enough from the model that we might as well be different species.
Tara - I would say that's not why we did this. As somebody who has dealt with comments on her weight her whole life, I'm sick of the media pushing one body type. Just because I'm not plus size doesn't mean I don't support bigger women. I'm against anything that tells women they need to look a certain way. We did this to stand up for ALL women.
If you were bigger do you still think you would have protested this way?
Fiona - I think that I would have, but it's impossible to know. Plus size women go through so much nonsense on a daily basis, and I don't know how growing up with that would have changed my perspective. But it felt so good, I hope I would have!
Tara - Yes, of course - I probably would have done it sooner. My body weight doesn't affect my feminist ideals and how I feel about sexism.
What is your goal in this?
Fiona - I would like advertising like this to stop. But for now, I wanted to grab as many women as I could and say "Hey gorgeous, you don't have to look like that to be sexy! We're sexy! And you're sexy too!" And from the response we've gotten, I think we did good.
Tara - We want to encourage people to think it's okay to be different and that it's okay to want to challenge what society tells us. You don't have to believe what is being sold to you because it's all made up anyway.
I am proud of these girls for putting themselves out there. They are making a stand for what they believe in and you have to give them credit for that, even if you disagree.
Would you shed your clothes for something you believed in? Leave your comments here.