A Brazilian gym has released a set of eye-catching advertisements telling women to "Be Independent" ... by opening a jar of olives.
The ads depict (already fit) women standing in front of very buff men -- or more accurately linking elbows with them, so that it appears that the women have their own "manly," hairy, muscled arms. Said arms are then used to open wine bottles and olive jars.
The photographs are jarring, to say the least. Some people have reacted with what The Gloss' Jamie Peck termed "a loud, collective 'WTF?'" And to be fair, the ads do invite a few questions:
- Why does being independent mean opening wine? Is this something that usually requires assistance? As Buzzfeed's Mark Duffy pointed out, "The women are already buff enough to open jars/wine themselves." Plus, there things called wine openers, which use leverage, which doesn't require that much arm strength if you know what you're doing. Which women do.
- If you were really buff, would you be most excited about the ability to effortlessly open wine bottles and jars? (I personally would be more excited about the ability to lug a heavy piece of furniture without assistance up to my apartment, which currently is a serious struggle.)
- How does anyone make his or her muscles look that glossy and well-defined?
However, I agree with Peck's assessment that as gym ads go, these aren't so bad. "I ... like that they emphasize the fact that you should go to the gym to get stronger, not just lose weight. How many gym ads have focused only on the women's slender bodies and not what they can do with them?" Peck wrote. The answer is, not many at all. In the last few years, gyms have tried to target women by asking if we're "skinny fat," telling us that our butts are too large, and equating "brainpower" with sex. I'd say that encouraging strength and independence are far superior tactics -- especially during a time when women are more financially independent than ever.
It's not the boyfriends, brothers and husbands who are footing these (unfortunately quite large) gym membership bills -- it's women themselves. And while we don't need man-arms to open olive jars or be self-sufficient, what we need even less is to be told that putting on weight makes you worthless, and that the purpose of exercise is to avoid that fate.