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People Are Signing a Petition to Get This 'Dangerous' Ad Removed From Times Square


Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

This isn’t the first time Flat Tummy Co. has been called out for… well, sucking. Instagram accidentally deleted (then restored) a sponsored post from Kim Kardashian featuring the company’s hunger-suppressing lollipops. Backlash ensued, and people called out Kardashian for promoting a product that could have a negative influence on young girls.

Now, these same lollipops are being advertised in New York City’s Times Square, and people in the eating disorder community and beyond are just as displeased as before.

In response to the billboard, model Tess Holiday started a Change.com petition. So far, 13,000 people have signed. The petition says advertising like this is “dangerous,” and calls for the billboard to be taken down.

There’s an ad up in Times Square marketing appetite suppressant lollipops to young women and I need your help getting it taken down. . . Telling young women and girls to ignore or suppress their hunger is dangerous. Join the campaign calling for Flat Tummy Co. to take their billboard down immediately. . . Hunger is your body’s way of communicating when it needs food, which gives us energy, without which we cannot survive. There is something deeply wrong when marketers tell women that their appearance (based on sexist body standards) is more important than their health and survival. . . As a fat woman, I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve told me that I should stop eating, or eat less. Or the number of people who’ve treated me terribly because of my size. We need to stop telling women and girls that they are only worth how skinny they are. . . Messaging like this makes us more likely to start restrictive diets which too often lead to eating disorders. Diet culture is making us sick – and Flat Tummy Co. is profiting off it by selling us candy that’s not even FDA-approved. . . We’re saying enough. Sign the petition and demand that Flat Tummy Co. remove its billboard immediately. Link is in my bio ???????? #effyourbeautystandards #dropthepops

A post shared by T E S S ???? (@tessholliday) on

In the petition, Holiday wrote:

As a fat woman, I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve told me that I should stop eating, or eat less. Or the number of people who’ve treated me terribly because of my size. We need to stop telling women and girls that they are only worth how skinny they are.

Messaging like this makes us more likely to start restrictive diets which too often lead to eating disorders. Diet culture is making us sick – and Flat Tummy Co. is profiting off it by selling us candy that’s not even FDA-approved.

Others have taken to Twitter to express their anger over the billboard. “The Good Place” actor Jameela Jamil posted on Twitter:

EVEN TIMES SQUARE IS TELLING WOMEN TO EAT LESS NOW? Have we actually gone mad? Why aren’t there any boys in the ad? Why is it fucking PINK? Because you feel men can look however they want? Their goals are to be successful. But ours are to just be smaller?

According to its website, Flat Tummy Co’s lollypops are made with “satiereal,” which it describes as “a clinically proven safe active ingredient extracted from natural plants.” The company suggests you have one to two pops a day to “keep your cravings in check” between meals.

At the bottom of its website, it clarifies, “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.”

“Hunger is your body’s way of communicating when it needs food, which gives us energy, without which we cannot survive,” Holiday wrote in the petition. “There is something deeply wrong when marketers tell women that their appearance (based on sexist body standards) is more important than their health and survival.”

According to the National Eating Disorder Association of America, over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys already engage in unhealthy weight control behaviors like skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives. Those who diet frequently are actually 12 times as likely to binge as people who don’t diet, and in a study of 14-year-old and 15-year-olds, those who practiced extreme restriction in their diets were 18 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than those who did not diet.

Although Flat Tummy Co. does not target their product to young people specifically, Times Square is one of the most-visited tourist attraction in the world.

Body positivity advocate Megan Crabbe, who goes by @bodyposipanda on Instagram, posted a picture of herself with a regular lollipop and said:

On a busy day 460,000 people go through Times Square. That’s half a million people daily being sold the idea that eating when you’re hungry is wrong… Hunger is not the enemy. Eating is not a sin. And having a fucking flat stomach is NOT the be all and end all of your existence. Flat Tummy Co, stop selling us disordered eating patterns for profit. Stop abusing our body insecurities to make bank. Just stop.

SOMEBODY GIVE ME A BEAT BECAUSE I'M ABOUT TO SLAY SOME DIET CULTURE. The picture above is a billboard in Times Square advertising appetite suppressant lollipops from the shitshow of a company, Flat Tummy Co. You might also be familiar with their popular detox (read: laxative) teas that they promote to impressionable young people all over social media. But this time it's lollipops. A product primarily consumed by children. Being suggested as a substitute for food. And endorsed by the most famous faces in the world. Oh btw, they're also not FDA approved AND the only study conducted on their effectiveness was paid for by the manufacturer of the key ingredient #conflictofinterest. On a busy day 460,000 people go through Times Square. That's half a million people DAILY being sold the idea that eating when you're hungry is wrong, and that sucking on an overpriced lollipop will suppress your appetite (spoiler alert: it won't) and get you a flat tummy! Babes, it's so easy! It's also SO FUCKED UP. Hunger is not the enemy. Eating is not a sin. And having a fucking flat stomach is NOT the be all and end all of your existence. Flat Tummy Co, stop selling us disordered eating patterns for profit. Stop abusing our body insecurities to make bank. Just stop. Oh, and also stop calling us babes every 2 seconds, it's patronising af. ???????????????????? #suckit #flattummyco #bodypositivity [Image description: the top half of the picture shows an advert for appetite suppressant lollipops featuring a smiling woman with a lollipop and the phrase "Got cravings? Tell them to #suckit". The bottom half shows Megan standing against a pink wall and mimicking the same pose, but the phrase is replaced with "Got shitty diet companies promoting disordered eating for profit? Tell them to #suckit"]

A post shared by Megan Jayne Crabbe ???? (@bodyposipanda) on

You can find Holiday’s petition here.


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