Actually Fat Can
QUIRKY PLUS-SIZE CYCLEWEAR BRAND LAUNCHES CONTROVERSIAL ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THE BODY BIAS IN THE CYCLING INDUSTRY.
Inclusive cyclewear brand Fat Lad At The Back has launched a controversial guerilla advertising campaign to draw attention to the body bias present in the cycling and fitness industry.
Fat Lad At The Back is widely-known for its revolutionary plus-size cycling gear and brand mission to challenge stereotypes in the cycling industry, and create an inclusive cycling community. The brand has been instrumental in getting people of all sizes into cycling, and now turn their attention to the way fat people on bikes are treated by society.
Their new campaign challenges the notion that if you are fat, then you can’t ride a bike, can’t be fit and can’t take part in sports and instead it celebrates what people can do.
Lynn Bye, Co-founder and Boss Lady at Fat Lad At The Back, says: “Whatever preconceptions society has about fat people, our community is proof that body size doesn’t stop us and that fat can.
Apparently, it’s fair game
The campaign was inspired by the abuse people in their community commonly receive when out cycling. Discrimination is discrimination, yet fat people appear fair game by society and apparently using fat as an insult is OK.
Trolls, trolls, trolls
In February this year, the models in Fat Lad At The Back’s social media ads were subject to horrible trolling and although many of the comments were removed by Facebook this type of abuse is all too common on the brands social channels with regular quips about wide loads, hippo emoji’s and the models looking disgusting or unsightly in tight cycle wear.
Fat Lad customer and brand model, Lisa Townsend has had a lot of abuse, both offline and online. Lisa later wrote on her own social media and in a blog post for the brand: “Whilst this was an upsetting time for me, the situation allowed me to be connected with a huge community of amazing women who stood by my side in solidarity and support to say a big ‘Hell NO!’ to the trolls. It was really emotional to hear how every one of us had a similar experience and that this was just expected when you are a curvier lady on a bike.”
Although the people subject to this abuse are often surprisingly graceful about it and often view it as a reflection of the perpetrator, it still cuts them deeply and is often a huge barrier for larger people to get in to cycling. The advertising campaign is Fat Lad At The Back’s way of fighting back. After the incident in February, they vowed to make a difference and take a stand against this kind of bigotry.
Loud and proud
Lynn is determined to re-take the word ‘fat’ and for the brand to be instrumental in dismantling the derogatory associations with the word - "To us, fat has never been a negative word - it’s just another adjective. People are fat and society needs to stop making that into the only thing they see. Your body doesn’t define you. We want people to start talking about this so that we can educate society and teach them to respect and accept people of all sizes."
The plus-size cyclewear brand believes that everyone should have a fair chance to create a healthy and happy life for themselves and cycling has helped so many people in their community including those who suffer from mental and physical health conditions. Abuse and judgement from others is a huge barrier for fat people getting into any fitness activity and robs them of the opportunity to improve their state of mind. Will Fat Lad At The Back’s advertising campaign have the impact they want to start a shift in the attitudes towards plus-size cyclists? Watch this space.
“We are proud of the brand and proud of our community and our values and what we have achieved in making it OK to be fat.” – Lynn Bye, Co-Founder.
You might see Fat Can’t, but it's Actually Fat Can.