Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

October 2, 2011

Suck It, Special K!

Filed under: Suck it — Twistie @ 8:30 am

Suck it, Special K!

Okay, I’m sure you can guess I’m not a fan. Frankly, I never have been. Special K has always, always been diet food and it always, always will be. If I thought it tasted good, that wouldn’t stop me from buying it, actually. My experience, however, has been that it tasted like cardboard, and I can get that flavor by eating actual cardboard if I want it. There’s always cardboard somewhere around Casa Twistie.

But I can ignore that. Really, I can. I don’t care if there’s food meandering about the universe not appealing to me. I am perfectly content to live in a world that includes asparagus, so long as nobody expects me to eat the stuff. I’m really a pretty live and let live kind of gal.

But what keeps making me want to hurl heavy things through my far-too-expensive-to-seriously-do-it television is their advertising.

Who could forget their ‘hilarious’ holiday commercials featuring perfectly ordinary sized women being mistaken for Santa by their small children and even – get this! – Santa’s freaking reindeer because they wore red while being larger than a size two?

Crappy times, crappy times.

Well now they’ve really gone and done it. They’ve co-opted HAES/FA to hawk diet food.

Here’s what happens in the commercial:

An attractive woman walks into a clothing store to buy jeans. Suddenly, instead of sizes, the tags all say things like ‘Size Sassy’ and ‘Size Radiant.’ The voiceover talks about how nice it would be to just forget about the number on the size tag and thought more about how we feel in our clothes. At this point, I was beginning to wonder if some FA angel like Marilyn Wann or Linda Bacon had bought air time to promote body diversity… except that everyone in the commercial is still thin and white.

And then comes the rest of the message: eat Special K, lose a dress size in two weeks. Feel better about yourself because you are thinner.

So what happens when somebody takes the Special K challenge and doesn’t lose weight? Even if they do, when do they get to stop losing and be satisfied with their bodies?

Look, I don’t care if you eat Special K, eggs and bacon, oatmeal, leftover pizza, or an entire batch of chocolate-glazed donuts for breakfast. I don’t care what the size label in your jeans (or any other article of clothing you wear) is. You should feel good about yourself for being a unique individual human being.

And you know what that doesn’t require? Losing weight.

Love you, take care of you, and ignore anyone who says you can only love you when there’s less of you to love.

Oh, and again, suck it, Special K!


  1. Well, Said. I can’t believe some of the commercials out there. To them thin = self love, and that isn’t necessarily or even should be the case. Advertisers make it hard to love yourself because they keep reeling you in with “love yourself the way you are” mantras, then turning around with “but obviously you can’t love yourself at that size”. It is devastating. So I am with you SUCK IT SPECIAL K!!

    Comment by LiteralGemini — October 2, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  2. I used to eat the strawberry Special K Cereal Bars (because they actually were tasty) but I stopped after that loathsome commercial aired last year. I’m like you. I can’t be bothered to support a product that actively belittles women for not fitting a very narrow margin of what’s “ideal.” I also find them to be very reminiscent of ads from the 40’s and 50’s which is definitely not a good thing.

    Comment by Kimaloo — October 2, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

  3. My 76 year-old dad has been eating Special K since the 60’s, at this rate his weight should be negative. This is the only way I like Special K:

    Comment by Julie — October 2, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  4. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Special K.

    On the one hand, I really do love the stuff. I love the texture and the flavor, especially the varieties with the dried fruit and vanilla almond and stuff. We never had it in the house growing up, only at Grandma’s once in awhile, and it’s only as an adult that I realized she was eating it as “diet food”. I just thought she had good stuff we didn’t.

    (I also like rice cakes for their texture. I add highly flavored stuff on top and really enjoy how it comes together.)

    On the other, their advertising everywhere is repugnant for all the reasons you outlined above. Yes, you should feel good about yourself, but ONLY if you’re thin. Ptui. I’ve always wondered why you would create a product that couldn’t just stand on its own merits, it had to have some “magical thinking” attached to it.

    So yeah, they can suck it. But I’ll still probably buy it when it’s on a sale with a coupon.

    Comment by TropicalChrome — October 2, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  5. @Tropical Chrome: And I’ll still respect you in the morning.

    Comment by Twistie — October 2, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  6. I was wondering if I was the only one who was bothered by that, the Christmas one had my husband fairly ticked off. This new one is a bit more masked, but the backhand is still the same & yes.
    Suck it Special K.

    Comment by Leah — October 2, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

  7. I was JUST railing about the ridiculous contradiction in that commercial this morning. Size doesn’t matter! But you should still lose a couple of sizes anyway, because you aren’t allowed to not care about size until you reach a specific size that everyone else says is acceptable. Makes perfect sense to me.

    Comment by Kate — October 2, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  8. I mute commercials or ff through them (god bless you DVR) but I do remember the Christmas one…I just roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of it all and move on. I just cant get upset about this stuff anymore but I understand those who do.

    I personally love the taste of plain Special K, its one of my favorite cereals (along with Wheaties and Grape Nuts). I also really like it on ice cream, it adds a nice crunch which I like. I admit a small part of me is tickled at the idea of eating a “diet food” on rocky road ice cream…

    Comment by Jeni — October 2, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

  9. Those Special K holiday commercials made me foam at the mouth.

    Comment by Colleen — October 2, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

  10. Ah, all advertising can be summed up thusly:

    “You suck. Buy this.”

    So ads for diet foods will always read this way too.

    Still, it makes me laugh whenever I see junk food manufacturers (and I do mean Kellogg’s) rambling on about healthy diets and weight loss through eating their junky food. The box it comes in has more nutrition to offer you, and it very probably tastes better, too.

    So there’s no reason to take anything else they’ve got to say about anything seriously.

    Comment by ChaChaHeels — October 3, 2011 @ 7:55 am

  11. @Julie, my dad also ate Special K almost every day of his life (except when he was eating Shredded wheat with hot milk butter and salt). My daughter inherited his love for the stuff. Me, I could take it or leave it. But the whole “eat this for 2 weeks and we guarantee you’ll lose weight” business is just silly.

    Comment by Sarah — October 3, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  12. I also fall into the group of people who actually like Special K, but had the exact same thought about the commercial. Elation! “Wait, are they actualy encouraging women to be happy regardless of their weight? Can it be so?!” Wuickly followed by despair “No matter your size, you will be happier if you are thinner!” Ugh.

    Comment by SarahDances — October 3, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  13. @ChaChaHeels and Sarah: I know that’s the way that diet foods are always advertised. The thing that really honked my goose was the fact that they were saying ‘no matter what size you are, you’re good… except that you suck unless you’re actively making yourself smaller.’ Co-opting and subverting FA for the purpose of selling diet food is the bit that’s making steam come out of my ears.

    Comment by Twistie — October 3, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  14. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was really excited and interested until they got to the “Be happy in your size…as long as it’s smaller” part. I wanted to beat the ad guy who came up with this campaign. Or just make him eat that nasty stuff.

    Comment by Orora — October 4, 2011 @ 8:00 am

  15. Well, that’s my point too: not only is FA being co-opted, but the whole concept of healthy nutrition is treated with contempt as well. Co-opting the salient point is how auto companies were able to sell gas sucking SUVs (they filmed them in forests, and called the vehicles “green”); it’s how they like to link products like bikini wax to women’s rights to political self-determination; it’s how they encourage “cool, alternative lifestyle, unique youth” to buy another ipod or iphone or ipad or they’ll miss out on “the revolution”. It’s how advertising works. It was just a matter of time before some knuckle scraping copywriter finally heard about “fat acceptance” and figured out how to make women really insecure by using it to sell junk food.

    Comment by ChaChaHeels — October 4, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  16. Special K is just processed junk and no one should eat it, regardless of their size.

    Comment by Lilly Munster — October 4, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  17. Know what the problem is with the Special K challenge? Who in the hell is satisfied after just 1 freaking bowl of cereal? I’ve been eating two bowls of cold cereal for breakfast since I was 6! I would eat a whole box of Special K cereal is I did their stupid challenge. *blech*

    Comment by BrooklynShoeBabe — October 5, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress