Fat Lad At The Back has launched a controversial campaign to draw attention to body bias present in the cycling and fitness industry.
Fat Lad At The Back is known for its plus-size cycle apparel. Its ‘brand mission’ is to “create a space for more inclusive cycling communities”.
The brand’s recent 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 generally.
The apparent use of the C-word in the campaign will no doubt draw some controversy. The belief that there’s no such thing as ‘bad’ publicity holds sway here.
Lynn Bye, Co-founder of Fat Lad At The Back: “It’s a divisive campaign but we need to draw attention to what’s really happening to larger cyclists and people taking exercise. The abuse that is being hurled at larger people is the thing that we should be getting offended by, not a marketing campaign with a clever use of the English language.
“Fat people are still fair game and society accepts that using fat as an insult is OK and ignores the profoundly negative effects that this can have on peoples mental health.”
In February this year, the models in Fat Lad At The Back adverts on social media were subject to derogatory comments. This type of abuse is common on the brand’s online content with regular comments about “wide loads”, hippo emojis and the models looking “disgusting or unsightly in tight cycle wear” (Fat Lad At The Back’s words).
Fat Lad At The Back model Lisa Townsend has had a lot of abuse. Lisa has written wrote: “Whilst this was an upsetting time for me, the situation allowed me to connect 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 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.”
This abuse cuts deeply and is often a huge barrier for larger people to get in to cycling. The ‘Fat C*nt’ advertising campaign is “Fat Lad At The Back’s way of fighting back”.
Lynn: “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.”
Fat Lad At The Back summarises: “You might see Fat Can’t, but it’s #actuallyfatcan”
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