Dove Soap Demands ‘Fat Liberation,’ Pushes Myth That Obesity Not ‘Unhealthy’
Skincare company Dove is taking a stand for the “Fat Liberation” movement, calling for body weight discrimination to be made illegal in all 50 states and promoting claims that obesity is not “inherently unhealthy.” This month, the soap maker has published several statements calling for stronger legal protections and more obese representation in films. Nearly 500,000 Americans die every year due to obesity and related illnesses.
In early March, the company announced it was partnering with the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) and Fat Legal, Advocacy, Rights and Education Project (FLARE) to “strengthen legal protection against body size discrimination and shift cultural conversations around a broader definition of beauty.” In a tweet promoting their campaign for “Size Freedom,” Dove wrote that they were working to ensure body size discrimination “becomes illegal in all 50 states.”
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Body size discrimination is never okay, and we’re working to ensure it becomes illegal in all 50 states. #CampaignForSizeFreedom
Thank you @virgietovar for sharing your story. ❤️ (½)https://t.co/FaTs7YUc7a
— Dove (@Dove) March 9, 2023
They also issued a report alleging that “living in a larger body” increases the “likelihood of being denied certain rights” such as medical treatment.
The soap company then shared an op-ed from body positivity activist Virgie Tovar, alleging that obesity is not “inherently unhealthy” and claiming that the “current medical position is not based in science.” Tovar holds a Master’s degree in Sexual Studies and is the author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat.
“The biggest [obstacle] is the misunderstanding that this is a health issue and not a human rights issue. People get caught up in the concern or the rhetoric that being in a larger body is inherently unhealthy… There’s enough science that says that isn’t true, but our culture believes that it is.”
The soap company then shared an op-ed from body positivity activist Virgie Tovar, alleging that obesity is not ‘inherently unhealthy’ and claiming that the ‘current medical position is not based in science.’
“Thank you [Virgie Tovar] for sharing your story,” Dove said.
A study funded by the NIH and CDC concluded that nearly 500,000 Americans died in 2016 from obesity-related causes. That figure is likely to be much higher today, with the prevalence of obesity in America growing by 3 percent of the population in just the first year of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Nearly 70 percent of Americans hospitalized for COVID-19 are overweight.
Dove, however, seems to dispute the medical consensus on obesity. A NAAFA paper published by Dove on their website alleges that the reports on obesity are “funded by diet companies and drug manufacturers,” which they say gives doctors a “vested interest in fat panic.”
Notably, Dove’s parent company, Unilever, is the largest ice cream manufacturer in the world, controlling Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Cornetto, and Klondike, among other brands. Unilever also owns the mayonnaise brand Hellmann’s.
“Living in a larger body is a reality for the majority of people in the US,” Dove states in their report.
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The company also recently drew attention when it criticized the Oscar-winning film “The Whale” for using a fat suit on lead actor Brendan Fraser.
Stop giving fat suits awards ‼️ We want better representation in Hollywood. #LetsChangeBeauty
— Dove (@Dove) March 13, 2023
“Stop giving fat suits awards. We want better representation in Hollywood,” Dove tweeted. The company responded to a now-hidden tweet claiming, “our identity is not your costume.”
“This is a weird tweet from a soap company,” one user replied.
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