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Big Sisters and Cheerios

October 24, 2013

Weight LossFat HealthExerciseFat NewsDiet TalkMy Boring-Ass Life

A few nights ago while watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I had the pleasure and perplexity of watching the following advertisement.

Intrigued, I went to the website and was again pleasantly surprised. I’m familiar with some companies trying to subvert and adopt the Health at Every Size® and Body Acceptance message and use it to sell their product. This is not that. Instead, Cheerios is partnering with Big Sisters and Big Brothers of Canada to create mentoring opportunities for girls ages 12-14 who need it. Sure, Cheerios comes up looking pretty good for doing it, and it *might* boost sales, but they’re not saying “Hey, eat our terrible tasting cereal and lose weight to feel AWESOME” like Special K does. Cheerios is owned by General Mills, while Special K is the flagship cereal of the Kelloggs company. So, unlike my first thought, like how Unilever owns both Dove with its “real beauty” campaign AND Axe Body Spray with its terrible commercials, there’s no double standard here.

The language is somewhat problematic, insisting on “eating well” and “being healthy,” as if these things were readily available to all girls regardless of class, race, ability, etc, but at least Cheerios and Big Sisters is putting in the effort; they acknowledge the mind and spirit aspects of health, state flat out that diets and measurements (hopefully they include BMI in there!) are fairly useless, and are strongly focused on preventing eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food. This is not a weight-loss-disguised-as-body-acceptance campaign, this is a reaching-out-and-guiding-girls-to-ask-questions-be informed-and-make-their-own-choices-about-their-own-bodies campaign. In their own words:

It’s for girls 12 to 14 years of age and focuses on physical activity, balanced eating, and self-esteem. The program goal is to positively shape the lives of girls by helping them build a confident self-image – setting them up for a healthy future.

Confidence is the only way to say “No” to all the body hate and fat shaming out there. Confidence is the only way to find and rock your own style, whatever that ends up being. Confidence is key to all the important aspects of self-discovery young people begin to make at this time in their lives. I applaud Big Sisters and General Mills/Cheerios for teaming up to help instill this most valuable of assets in a new generation of young women. Confidence isn’t something that just comes to you; it must be modeled and nurtured like a small, vulnerable seed. With proper nourishment, the seed of confidence can flourish into a Muhammad Ali or an Amelia Earhart; without it, the spark of confidence fades into a faint glimmer no brighter than the intermittent flash of a firefly’s bottom.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Theresa permalink
    October 24, 2013 2:31 pm

    It’s weird. This makes me happy but also almost apprehensive. I’m sort of afraid to believe it’s real.

    • JeninCanada permalink
      October 24, 2013 7:20 pm

      I know, right? That’s why, after seeing the commercial, I immediately went to the website thinking “Ok, what are you REALLY selling? There’s got to be a catch.” No catch with this campaign, so yay!

      HOWEVER, that being said, according to a couple of commenters on our Facebook page, MultiGrain Cheerios has given negative/weight loss slogans before, so I’m going to be looking into that. Maybe it’s just an American thing, but either way I want to know.

  2. October 24, 2013 2:58 pm

    Reblogged this on Sly Fawkes and commented:
    I wish I had gotten messages like this when I was growing up instead of the “be thin at all costs” messages that I was inundated with. Maybe my already shaky self esteem wouldn’t have spiraled quite so deeply into self loathing. This is actually a positive message. Maybe there is hope.

  3. October 24, 2013 3:04 pm

    I’m going to give Cheerios the benefit of the doubt and believe that they are 100% sincere. (I have my own issues with Cheerios since they are the breakfast of choice for my fat shaming mother, but I can’t blame General Mills for that.)

  4. October 25, 2013 10:20 am

    Ah good, something I can eat in the morning now I’ve boycotted Kellogg’s!

  5. October 27, 2013 10:56 am

    Too many GMOS. All I know is if I eat mainstream cereal, I have digestive problems. I buy the expensive but tasty non-GMO stuff, it digests just fine. Stay away from the GMOs kids!

  6. Dizzyd permalink
    October 28, 2013 5:44 pm

    Cheerio-OH-oh’s! Couldn’t resist. Loved it as a kid, and like this campaign even more! Let’s hope it’s the first of many.

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