In General Mills' latest ad campaign, young girls stand in front of the camera and read common troubling diet messages in the media. The messages are:
"Are you ready for bikini season?"
"Celebrity secrets to a hot body."
"Get skinny in just one week."
"Ten miracle foods that really work."
"In every situation, somebody will judge you on the way you look."
As part of the campaign, General Mills coined the phrase "dietainment" which they claim to be "unhealthy diet messages disguised as entertainment."
All of these messages encourage consumers to diet in order to achieve whatever glorified body-type the media chooses to promote at each given time.
Why is dietainment such a big deal? These messages bombard us multiple times on a daily basis. We see them on the TV as we brush our teeth in the morning. We see them on the subway on our way to work. We even see them at the gym as we attempt to live a healthy and confident lifestyle.
Our efforts to maintain our healthy bodies are immediately deflated and replaced with an urgency to drop weight as quickly as possible when we see these messages. They encourage us and to prioritize thinness over strength.
While we may shrug off these dietainment phrases as unattainable and thus insignificant, the younger generation might not understand just how unattainable these standards are. They gain inspiration through these dietainment messages rather than disregard them.
Nearly 1 in 3 young girls have dieted. While we could write dieting off as harmless and normal, according to a survey done by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 75 percent of American females endorse unhealthy thoughts or behaviors with regard to food and their bodies.
Dieting is often the result of low self-esteem. Because we're self-conscious about our bodies, we restrict ourselves and become obsessed with our relationship to food. While dieting may start as a healthy way to change one's poor eating habits, it reportedly progresses to pathological dieting for 35 percent of normal dieters. Up to 25 percent of these dieters will reportedly develop psychological eating disorders.
Thus, while dietainment is masked as inspiration, or "thinspiration," it actually leads to self-harming actions. With women facing a plethora of difficulties or even mortality as a result of eating disorders, it's important to call dietainment out for its negative impact on people.
General Mills has a goal of reaching 10,000 signatures to finally put an end to dietainment. Sign the petition here to help.
Watch this video for more information about unhealthy dieting: