15-Year-Old Doesn’t Like Body Shaming Facebook Ads

Over the weekend we received the above Facebook message from a concerned (super smart) teen which points out continued problems with Facebook advertising, and – more generally – how images of women in the media directly impact our youth.

Nicole, who is 15-years-old, writes:

“I have a problem with some of the advertising I see on facebook that is targeted to me and other girls my age…I find it worrisome that about half the ads I see on my newsfeed are for losing belly fat, losing a couple jean sizes and getting slimmer in general…I know that constantly being asked “do you want to lose a couple pounds?” as I scroll through my newsfeed certainly plants a seed of doubt in my head as to whether or not my body is “good” enough.”

She also sent us two examples of the kinds of ads she sees daily:

As Nicole mentions, these ads send dangerous messages to young girls (and all women) about health and body image. They also reinforce a very limiting beauty ideal. The fact that the ads are inserted amongst friends’ posts or updates from favorite pages – as Facebook does in the News Feed – is especially problematic. Because as inspiring as it is to hear Nicole speak so eloquently about the problems with these images, we can’t expect all teenagers to be as media literate as her – at some point the advertisers and the platform must take responsibility for their influence on kids.

These kinds of ads are harmful to people of all ages, but shouldn’t Facebook at least have different standards – and reviewers – for those images being shown to youth? And if they already do this, why are such clearly negative ads being approved for 15-year-olds?

You can notify Facebook about the flaws in their advertising model on their official page. And tweet Zaggorra (the brand in the first ad*) with #NotBuyingIt, asking that they stop targeting this ad at 15-year-old girls – or pull it completely.

If anyone finds the contact information for the second advertiser, please leave it in the comments.

Imran is the Director of Social Media and Outreach at MissRepresentation.org. Follow him on Twitter @imransiddiquee

39 Comments

  1. anonymous says:

    …what exactly does the tag ‘FBRape’ mean? If you’re trying to use the word ‘rape’ in connection to facebook ads, stop now. That’s not right.

  2. Courtney says:

    My 9 y.o. cousin already has started calling herself fat because at 105 and 5’2” she doesn’t fit the ‘norm’. It’s disgusting to think that at her age I was playing with barbies and now kids think more about what’s attractive than having fun.

  3. Mel says:

    Hi,

    I found this page and had to leave a reply as I feel the same way. I’m almost 30 but I find the advertisements offensive as well as do some of my friends who find it dis-heartening that every time we visit fb we are constantly streamed images of overweight women, diets, diet pills etc. It would be nice to see advertisements that are up lifting or helpful instead of this negative propaganda which inevitably only makes us feel like crap after viewing it.

    Thank you for writing in Nicole and thank you Imran for bringing it to light.

    Regards,
    Mel

  4. Mary Beam says:

    I hate all the Facebook ads and have found a quick way to remove them. Just go download Social Fixer and they will magically disappear. (I’m not associated with this website, just a fan.) http://socialfixer.com/

  5. Teresa says:

    I left a message with one of the site’s and this is the response I got:

    Transformation Health Central

    i can tell you the truth.The post that we make. we make sure that the age group is older than 18. We have the option to do that and we dont ever ever go younger than 18. The Real truth is parents and elders giving kids the freedom to browse the internet without monitoring them. Younger Girls WILL and DO “LIE” about their age on thier facebook accounts. So please take that into account because we are not sick people. we know that its not right to brain wash little girls but the majority of the time it is them that do it to themselves.

    • ellise says:

      They’re not ‘sick people’ because they don’t try specifically to brain wash tender teenagers. RIGHT. Because the rest of us it’s A-Okay to brainwash. Way to blame the victim and say that young girls being it on themselves. How about responsible advertising? How about not body shaming in general? No one needs that. Also, FYI. Overweight people know they are overweight. They don’t need the whole ‘it’s healthier’ spiel. They are perfectly capable of searching out methods of weight loss in appropriate places on their own that really are effective (not a fad, gimmick, scam, or fuel to diet product industry sales) that really are healthy (and safe) ways to lose weight if they choose. The ways that everyone knows about.
      Eating right and exercise. All of these ads permeate the subconscious and plant seeds of doubt. Everyone has a different shape and many women just are not meant to be lean mean workout machines. And if they are or if they aren’t in that category of fitness level/size it’s nobody’s business but their own. All shapes are beautiful and lovable and a woman is so much more than the object we are conditioned to attain to be.

  6. Melissa says:

    I noticed very similar ads on my FB stream. Those not about losing weight (which appeared like magic once “swimsuit season” started) are about getting pregnant. Then again, I’m listed as 25-30 and married, not 15. But it still grinds my gears.

  7. bex says:

    this is just sick, though i know for a fact they dont always check what they’re sending to whom (hence i keep getting meet up adds O.o) this is still not right, if someone wants to be thinner they can find it themselves they dont need to be advitizing peoples’ insecurites, teenage girls have enough issues as it is we don’t need extra pressure!

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