Take Back The Beach

So, on my lunch hour this Wednesday, fellow blogger Tara and I did this:

How to get a beach body-Take your body

If you would like to read about us doing that, head on over to my last post here!

Basically, the response that we’ve had has completely knocked me off my feet. Seriously, you guys should give yourselves a pat on the back. I have been so, so bowled over by the love and support and strength that we’ve been shown.

Well, for the most part.

Protein World’s response has left…well, a little something to be desired. After we tweeted our photo, I saw some pretty heinous responses to docu-comedian Juliette Burton’s tweets (you can find Juliette on Twitter here, and you should definitely follow her. She’s ace).

protein world twitter


I was pretty shocked. As someone who spent a year working in social media, I nearly fell off my chair that this was the brand’s official response. The tweets got increasingly horrendous, telling women to “grow up” and branding them “crazy”, and then last night, I stumbled on a response to some women saying:

Surely as feminists, you understand no one takes you seriously?

And it hit me. They’re trolls. They’re literally just trolls. And I don’t know about you guys, but this totally takes their power away for me. I’m now imagining Protein World as being a group of guys polishing their muscles and reassuring themselves that feminism is the reason they’re not getting laid. Maybe with a smattering of girls insisting that they don’t see why the ad is offensive, probably because they’re not hysterical like all those other girls, babe. I’m kind of embarrassed for them.

After this paradigm shifting revelation, I realised that this isn’t a protest anymore. This is a party. This is a celebration of the million and one different ways that a woman (and a man, you gorgeous men, you) can be beautiful.

So let’s celebrate. Tara, Juliette and I are organising a massive version of the photo above at 3pm on Saturday 2nd May. Do you look like the model on the poster? Awesome, step this way, gorgeous! Are you a size 24? Come on down, beautiful! Are you a guy? Get those swimming shorts looked out! Don’t want to bare all in a bikini? Come in whatever you feel great in! Beach ready means different things for everyone, and we want to see all of them.

This was never about suggesting that people shouldn’t try to get fit if they want to. If having rippling abs is your thing, more power to you. I bet you rock them. But I’m so tired of it being an expectation. The idea that your body should be covered up and hidden away if it doesn’t meet these bizarrely specific requirements…I’m over it, you guys. And judging by the response we’ve gotten on Twitter, it looks like you are too.

Bring your friends. Bring your beachballs and buckets and spades. Bring those awesome beach bodies.

We’ll be meeting on the grass by Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park (by the Marble Arch entrance), and I’ll be there from a bit before 3. If you’re coming in your bikini, we’d maybe suggest wearing a dress over it that’s easy to whip on and off, to fend off hypothermia.

The more people we have, the more amazing this picture is going to be, so rope in as many people as you can. Saturday the 2nd. 3pm. It’s happening. And it’s going to be sexy.

If you’re coming, feel free to give us a wave down in the comments or on Twitter! You can definitely just show up on the day, but it would be cool to have some idea of how many people we have. We also have a sexy Facebook event here if you’re on Facebook!


So, as expected, all of us have been on the receiving end of some genuinely sickening comments after speaking out like this. Of the two of us in the photo though, it’s depressingly unsurprising that Tara and her beautiful, perfect body have been the target of the most vitriol. I’d just like to thank Tara for having the bravery to hold my hand through this, even though she probably knew in advance that she would bear the brunt of the abuse. And to every single person who has posted nasty comments, I’m sorry that your life is so unfulfilling that you feel like you have to tear down a strong, gorgeous woman who is celebrating her body.

On this note, if actually coming to our event would make you feel unsafe, please feel free to support us with tweets, messages and happy thoughts. Let’s keep each other safe. Let’s keep each other strong.

57 thoughts on “Take Back The Beach

  1. Bloody brilliant!!!!
    I’m ‘overly tall’, ‘too skinny’, ‘not muscly enough’ and many other things. But I have a great time each day I get in the pool, get on the bike or go for a run, and my body has the ability to do triathlon, so I really couldn’t care if I’m not on the cover of men’s health, or having hundreds of girls swooning all over me. My girlfriend does, and my body can do all the sport and exploring I want.
    Brilliant article!

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much John! Exactly, just because we don’t look like models doesn’t mean we’re not sexy as hell.

      • fionalongmuir says:

        It’s not them using an aspirational model to advertise their products that’s the problem, it’s that they present her as the standard for being beach ready.

        • Pinkie says:

          It is aspirational to some people though. Achievable for me and many others out there, made me kick start exercising again.

          • fionalongmuir says:

            That’s great! I’m really happy that it’s inspired you to get a body you can be really proud of. I’m just trying to provide an alternative image…to show that you don’t need to look like that to be proud. But more power to the people who do, everyone deserves to feel great!

  2. Trish says:

    I also saw this on twitter, i was shocked and disgusted, i also saw them tell someone to grow up. I am going to write to the company, and mention this to them, i have some screen shots too of their rotten behaviour.

    How people can see this jump on the bandwagon as some were doing and then go and buy from them??

    Its basically saying if ur not a stick thin girl then your not ready for the beach. I have huge hips and no boobs – does this mean i am not a normal women and am brach ready?

    They are a weight loss brand and yet they pray on peoples insecurities everyday just by selling and promoting their product. Everyone has an opinion and should be allowed to express it and not have it squashed down by a person they don’t even know.

    They need to accept everyone is different and everyone has their own body shape and opinions.

    Sorry i am ranting but this annoyed me too!

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thanks so much for commenting Trish! I know, it was just their bad luck that it was their advert I targeted, but after their genuinely disgusting response, I’m so glad I did.

  3. sending a rousing round of applause. Being one of those crazy feminists myself that have jumped into the argument I’ve had my fair share of name calling recently.

    Just as well I am so fabulous it hurts and the only thing I need to be beach ready is a beach.

    Keep on keeping on, all thinking people are behind you.

    D x

    • It’s stunning,the amount of horrible comments posted to anything like this. Brutally insulting, thoughtless and deliberate. Gives one real concern for our future. What went wrong in these men’s (let’s be honest, it’s mostly men) lives that they do this? Badly raised? Organic brain problems? Who knows. You all keep up the good fight on behalf of all us non-supermodels.

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much Charlie! I know, I’ll never understand why a confident woman provokes such rage. But happy to be flying the flag!

  4. Mario says:

    I think its brilliant to know there are people who are still brave enough to make statements like this, plus you both look gorgeous so you are so right to be proud of how you look.

    • fionalongmuir says:

      It’s really interesting that you choose to dismiss us based on our looks, while claiming that we don’t have a problem in society. Thanks for providing food for thought.

  5. Tess Munster says:

    We are all beautiful with bigger bodies. How are we all going to fit into speaker’s corner? Do we have St. John’s Ambulance at the ready?

  6. Manuel Pfister says:

    News flash, idiots: Nobody really cares about your whining or what you think at all. To the extent that you’re doing anything at all you’re helping the company get more exposure. Fat obnoxious feminists are not in the target market of fitness supplements. On the other hand many of grown up adult men are now going to go out of our way to purchase from protein world just because it pissses you off. Suck it fatties.

  7. Anna says:

    Ladies looking lovely in your tube shoot!! Sorry I can’t be there on Friday I hope this can show other people (i think men feel it just as women do!) that they are ready for the beach as they are. Keep Going you are an inspiration xx

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much! I’m hoping we’re going to have loads of awesome people on Saturday! I’ll be writing a blog post about it, so you can see all our pics :)

  8. john says:

    I’m sick of people bitching about bigger girls, I wouldn’t kick either of you out of bed ;) if you want to look at a stick insect go to the zoo! You need something to hold on to!

  9. I can’t make the photo due to the fact I don’t live in London but I’ll be there in spirit, let me know if there’s any other way I can be involved! Can’t wait to see all the beauties involved and I love the good you’re doing. Keep being an amazing inspiration!

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much! We’ve had a couple of people ask about other ways to support as well, I was maybe thinking about starting a Tumblr of bikini photos or something!

  10. Trollsly says:

    “They’re literally just trolls. And I don’t know about you guys, but this totally takes their power away for me”

    I suppose they’ll just have to content themselves with the million quid they’ve made this week because apparently feminists have never heard of the Streisand effect ;)

    At least you looked good doing it.

    • fionalongmuir says:

      I don’t really care about their sales. Their product was never the problem. Although, following their horrendous response, I hope some people will choose to take their money elsewhere. But if not, fair play to them. This was about providing a different message to women. One that says, hey, it’s totally okay to love your body, even if you don’t look like that. And I think we’ve been incredibly successful in that. Thanks for reading!

      • Trollsly says:

        You’re most welcome. And for what it’s worth, I’m pleased you can look back on this as something you’re glad you did. Doing something fun and positive like this beats the hell out of frothing and ranting at a computer screen, signing change.org petitions no one will read or trying to ban everything you don’t like. So more power to your arm. Take care

  11. This is such a great idea! Good luck for your protest, I hope lots of people show up to celebrate you. And that Protein World come up with a better social media strategy. And an advertising strategy too actually.

  12. This is AMAZING!! I wish wish wish I was in London for this. You are totally right that these ads are ridiculous and encourage the completely wrong view of what a healthy or attractive person is.

    Despite all the positive body image stuff we are seeing from some brands there is still a hell of a lot of voices out there pushing the wrong kind of message (particularly in my niche – health and fitness)

    My favourite quote of yours from above: “I’m now imagining Protein World as being a group of guys polishing their muscles and reassuring themselves that feminism is the reason they’re not getting laid.”

    Beautifully said :):)

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much! I’m really excited for tomorrow, I think it’s going to be a total party.

  13. Stuart says:

    I totally agree with your goal of enabling all women (and men) to feel good about themselves, but… why do campaigns like this always end up hating on thin women? I know that YOU are not doing that – far from it, all your comments here are sensible and inclusive and I agree with all you say. But it’s a fact – and you alluded to it yourself on the BBC – that this kind of thing inevitably brings out the “skinny-shamers”. I wish there were a better way. I have a teenage daughter who is naturally very thin (much thinner than the PW model) and when I see all the hating that goes on, it makes me worry for her.

    I just wish there were a better way of spreading a positive message that didn’t involve encouraging those who would demonise thin women. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The body confidence campaigns of recent years have been very successful in that I do think it’s socially unacceptable to denigrate larger size women now, which is great, but it’s still OK (and in fact was always OK, despite the myth that thin women were idealised) to have a go at thin women.

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thanks for reading Stuart! I’ve actually been really proud of how open and inclusive our campaign has been, although sadly skinny-shaming does still happen elsewhere. I think this is all part of a wider problem where women’s bodies are seen as public property to comment on, and I really hope that we can move towards getting rid of that.

  14. This is absolutely fabulous!!! I wish I lived by you so I could join the photo! What you ladies did is amazing and needs to be heard. I am so tired of hearing about how I should look and what products I should buy to make me more attractive. God made me perfect just the way I am. :) As someone who struggles with an eating disorder things like this make me so angry . One of the biggest things that worries me is how kids are affected by all of this. We should be utilizing all of the technology and social media that we have to teach kids to love and respect and their bodies and how every person is unique. Instead we are using it to shame people into thinking they need to fit a certain image to be considered acceptable and be liked. This is absolutely not ok. I get that companies need to sell their products but this world would be so much better if everyone started focusing on who we are as a person and how we make this world a better place rather than chasing this image of perfection that is impossible to reach.

    That model was photo shopped anyways. She doesn’t even look like that. So why the heck should we be trying to? You ladies are awesome! I can’t wait to see the beach photo!

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much Meagan! We actually had a massive group of 13 year old girls who were openly identifying as feminists and feeling proud of their bodies, so that was incredible.

  15. William says:

    Thank you so much for doing this, amazing! :)

    So tired of such irresponsible adverts which parade such unattainable, shame inducing distortions of the real beauty which we all have anyway.

    I’m sorry you got trolled but you should be really proud and optimistic about your work, and youre right I think about the balance of power finally shifting away from these mysognistic trolls, which is probably why they respond so desperately.

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thanks so much for commenting, William! I’m really proud of what we’ve done…and the trolls just proved that we still need people to be speaking out, we haven’t quite reached utopia yet haha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.