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Sri Lankan women take on gym’s ‘body shaming’ ad

Sri Lankan women take on gym’s ‘body shaming’ ad
January 27, 2018

A gym in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo caused outrage after it put up a billboard featuring a picture of a barrel with the text "this is no shape for a woman".

As reported by the BBC's Ayeshea Perera the hoarding for Osmo gym went up in a Colombo suburb last week and the row almost instantly made it on to social media.

Both men and women shared pictures of the billboard along with expressions of outrage at the "blatant sexism" and "body shaming" depicted.

Some began a hashtag campaign entitled #BoycottOsmo, while others tagged the organisation on Facebook asking them to take down the hoardings and apologise. However, the gym did not respond, and a post featuring the images used in the billboard stayed pinned to the top of their Facebook page.

Activist Marisa de Silva told the BBC “the ad was nothing very different from the typical objectification and sexist usage of women by the ad industry, which has been selling anything from cars to perfume by sexualising women and their bodies.

"But this ad also attempted to body shame by dictating to women the ideal shape they should resemble, almost as though it is the sole basis of their worth."

de Silva, along with a group of women who had been discussing the billboard on social media, took action against the advertisement.

After contact with the Colombo Municipal Council, the billboard was covered up on the basis that it did not have the necessary permissions and, with the backing of a local graphics company, it was replaced by a new banner, with the message ‘no more space for sexism’ in Sri Lanka's three major languages - Sinhala, Tamil and English.

Osmo also responded with an official statement on the campaign, saying that it had "withdrawn" the advertisement, which was not intended to "degrade, offend, insult or undermine any one person or women in general".

It further explained that the advertisement had been inspired by a "disturbing" World Health Organization report that said there were higher rates of diabetes, being overweight, obesity and physical inactivity among Sri Lankan women than men.

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We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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