Pembroke students slam LA Fitness advert’s “sexism”

first_imgPembroke students are complaining about the alleged sexism of an advert for gym chain LA Fitness located near the College.A written complaint was submitted to LA Fitness by Pembroke JCR’s Gender Equality Rep Ronni Blackford on Monday, criticising the national advertising campaign which includes the slogan, “We guarantee to lose your baggage this summer”, believed by the students to be specifically targeted at women through the depiction of women’s swimwear.LA Fitness Oxford is located directly behind Pembroke College, whose students are offered discounted membership. Controversy started when Pembroke fresher Imo Watson posted a photo of the poster on Facebook last Thursday captioned, “Because only women have baggage to lose apparently… #lafitness #lafuckoff”, receiving 80 likes.Blackford told Cherwell, “I’m very disappointed by LA Fitness’ current advertising scheme. It is a blatant display of sexism, suggesting women use the gyms for the sole purpose of losing weight and completely ignoring the many other reasons for which many women go – from gaining and increasing fitness, to training for a new challenge, or simply using it as stress relief especially during a busy Oxford term.”She added, “Perhaps the worst issue for me is that any part of anyone’s body might be deemed ‘baggage’ – self-love and self-care are so important in a society that pressures young people, especially young women, into hating their bodies, and this campaign actively subscribes to such an unkind and unhealthy culture.”Blackford threatened to involve the Advertising Standards Agency in her complaint. Cherwell understands that a motion of condemnation will be submitted to the JCR on Sunday.Rule 4.1 of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising states, “Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.”Watson said, “LA Fitness should know better – rather than shaming women into exercising by suggesting they have ‘baggage’, they ought to be encouraging confidence and self-appreciation. By focusing on what people can gain from exercise (strength, fitness, health etc) rather than on what they should be losing (‘baggage’), the gym would create a much healthier view towards body image, and a much more positive atmosphere compared to how it is currently.”She added, “For the past year or so I’ve struggled with getting the right balance between exercising and over-exercising (at one point I went to the gym for 2.5 hours every day) and to have posters such as this outside the gym really does not help!”LA Fitness is yet to respond to Blackford’s complaint and to Cherwell’s request for comment.last_img read more