“I’m Pretty Tired” of Under Armour Ads
Have you noticed that Under Armour currently has a campaign going on, called “I’m Pretty __________” (you fill in the blanks to describe yourself.) It strives to educate people that women are not just pretty, they are “pretty amazing”, “pretty focused,”, etc.
I understand UAs intent. After all, my friends and family can count on me to commend their children not on looks, but on their behavior. Instead of saying “You’re so cute”, I say, “You are so kind” or “You really work hard in school”, or “I’m inspired by how much you read.” I commend children for being “well-behaved, polite, courteous, kind, generous, smart, disciplined, hard-working”, etc.” I avoid commending anyone for external beauty. It has long been known that teachers, not even consciously, give more attention and leniency to “pretty”, “cute”, and “handsome” students. This is no favor to these students, who soon find out they can’t pass exams with their good looks.
Under Armour’s campaign states this: “You’re so pretty” is still pretty much the highest compliment some people think you can give a woman. Which is pretty sad… you’re more than a pretty face. You’re pretty strong, pretty tough, pretty fierce, pretty smart, pretty bold. Show the world how you’re more than just a pretty face.”
The problem with UAs campaign is this: they don’t practice what they preach. Every product ad on Under Armour’s website shows only fit and slender people. They are favoring looks over behavior or “amazing factor.” And to be consistent with that theme, they don’t offer Plus-Size activewear for women. XL is their biggest size in most clothes, which their size chart defines as a 36.5″ waist and 43.5″ bust.
I learned years ago to take my concerns to the people who can address them, rather than simply vent and complain. So I sent a note to UA, telling them of my concerns. Here is what I wrote:
“While I agree that being pretty is the wrong measure of success, it concerns me that your campaign ads always show a thin, slender woman engaging in fitness or modeling your activewear. As a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Coach, I feel you are leaving out regular people who come in all shapes, sizes, and faces. Show the 350 pound gal who feels like everyone is looking at her on the treadmill (they are), yet gets to the gym anyway. Show the guy with chronic disease, building up strength with weights and physical therapy. Show the elderly woman with a heart condition who rides the recumbent bike daily. Bottom line: it’s easier to be fit when you ARE already fit. When you aren’t, the mountain is much more steep and difficult. Those people who show up, despite pain discomfort, and social stigma, are the most inspiring heroes of fitness. Give them the credit they deserve, and clothe them, too!”
I requested a response. I will let you know what Under Armour says when they do respond.
In the meantime, let’s keep showing the world what fitness really looks like – it comes in every size, shape, and doesn’t require an $80 t-shirt.
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