Pinterest says it’s all about body positivity as it bans weight loss ads
Pinterest has become the first major social network to ban all advertisements with weight loss language and imagery, including ads that idealize or denigrate certain body types, as the platform joins a broader body-positivity movement.
Ads with testimonials about weight loss or weight loss products as well as any referencing body mass index (BMI) will not be allowed.
The online image-sharing site said the changes, guided by the National Eating Disorders Association, comes amid growing concerns over eating disorders in young people aggravated by the pandemic.
“A lot of people are facing challenges related to body image and mental health, particularly as we’re emerging from COVID restrictions,” Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of policy, told NPR. “People are now feeling added pressure to rejoin their social circles in person for the first time in a year.”
Pinterest’s users, whom the company refers to as pinners, will still be able to search for topics around weight-loss advice, healthy-eating tips and fitness products and services.
Pinterest in its earlier days faced criticism for pins promoting “thinspiration” or pro-anorexia content and has taken the lead among social platforms in restricting such content. Body shaming, before-and-after weight-loss imagery and weight loss procedures like liposuction had already faced bans.
In April of this year, Instagram and TikTok added resources for individuals affected by eating disorders.
The body positive movement, driven in recent years by social media influencers, has led to the increased use of plus-size models and varied body types in ad campaigns as well as more inclusive messaging. Aerie, CVS, Target and Dove have earned praise for stopping the use of airbrushing in ads.
The movement has faced criticism for encouraging lifestyle habits that negatively affect one’s health. A rising backlash against traditional “Get Back Your Beach Body” and “Lose That Spare Tire” pitches would be a blow to gyms and others in the fitness space seeking to tap weight-loss as a motivator.
As noted by Social-Ping, reactions to the move on social media were diverse. The site wrote, “Some users have been praising the healthy attitudes the push promotes, and others slamming it as ‘peak wokeness.’”
- No Size Fits All – Pinterest/Instagram
- Pinterest embraces body acceptance with new ad policy – Pinterest
- Pinterest Bans All Weight Loss Ads – NPR
- Pinterest Bans Weight-Loss Ads – The Wall Street Journal
- Pinterest bans weight loss ads due to eating disorder concerns – The Verge
- How we’re supporting people affected by eating disorders and negative body image – Instagram
- New Survey Finds 71 Million Americans Have Gained Weight Throughout the Pandemic – Gelesis/PRNewswire
- ‘Peak wokeness’ vs ‘A big win’: How Pinterest’s ‘weight loss’ advertising ban has divided social media – Social-Ping
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Pinterest’s move to ban all advertisements with weight loss language and imagery on point or an overreaction? How do you see the body-positive movement affecting consumer buying behavior and retailer and brand marketing and sales in the years to come?