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Abstract

The world of marketing has stumbled upon body positivity as a tool of feminist activism and now attempts to use its messages of empowerment to sell products. This is especially true when it comes to selling products specifically targeted toward women: beauty and personal care products, weight loss supplements, and more. Various aspects of body positivity have been appropriated by advertisers not only because they have the potential to make women feel better about themselves—feelings that they then associate with the product—but also for their ability to make women feel engaged in activism, even if the products themselves are controversial in feminist circles. In such a highly commercialized, neoliberal society, the idea that social change can be enacted through consumerism is pervasive. However, although advertisements position corporations as catalysts for a revolution in the way we see women’s bodies, they ultimately serve the same beauty standard that they attempt to resist, and the very nature of advertising—as a tool of capitalism—makes it incompatible with the goals of activism.

EMMA LUCK is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Huron University College, where she is studying to complete an Honours Specialization in English with a Minor in Sociology. She intends to continue her English studies at the graduate level. Her research interests include feminist theory and dystopian fiction.


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