Every time I see this Special K ad, I grind my teeth. It starts out well: a woman (who by the way is quite slim) goes shopping for jeans. Instead of sizes, the jeans are labeled "Radient" and "Sassy" or whatever. A voice-over asks, wouldn't it be great if we ignored sizes in favor of how we feel inside?
This new Special K ad coopts and twists size acceptance.
Then the ad helpfully informs you that you can lose up to 20 pounds on the Special K diet. So here is the message of this ad: accept who you are! And also, you are too fat and need to lose weight.
The first part of the ad uses the language of size acceptance. The size acceptance movement says "It's okay to be larger than a size 2," and "you can be healthy over a wide range of weights." After all, we all know sickly people who are tiny, and chubby people who are healthy. Shouldn't it be more important to be healthy, and to wear clothes that fit well, regardless of what size you are?
(This kind of talk drives people rabid with fury, by the way. But it is true: on paper, I am literally as healthy as a person can be. Cholesterol levels, blood tests, blood pressure, blood glucose level - all perfectly normal. I eat well and exercise regularly. The only thing "wrong" with me is that I weigh more than a chart says that I should.)
Special K has a long history of telling women that "I love you but you're too fat." Their ads use the gauzy summer morning lighting of a feminine hygiene ad, and speak in the gentle sweet tones of a best friend and confidante. And what they tell you is, you're too fat. Eat more Special K and lose weight.
Incidentally, the so-called "Special K challenge" (which was invented wholly by the marketing department in order to sell more Special K, meaning it's not a real thing) is - irony alert! - incredibly unhealthy. A person who actually follows the Special K diet will be crash dieting, with a daily allowance of about 1,500 calories. Much of which comes in the form of a highly processed, refined, high glycemic high carb, zero fiber breakfast cereal pumped full of synthetic vitamins.
There is no magic to Special K. It's just corn flakes with a vitamin coating. And their ad is just the same old lies and cruelties in a different package.