Blinds To Go No No

fight backBlinds to Go has a new commercial, I’ll not be linking to it. It starts with a man who is gray-haired, hairy, and fat doing yoga in his home with the windows open, interspersed with shots of a couple walking and chatting outside.  Then the couple happens to look in the window and sees the man doing yoga and everyone is horrified.  The announcer chimes in with “You need blinds. Now” After the sales pitch it cuts to a final shot of the man doing yoga with blinds on all the windows, looking happy and relieved.

This is severely screwed up. Blinds to Go is betting that more fat people will buy their product based on the fear that we are not sufficiently ashamed of ourselves and hiding ourselves away from society in our own homes (and that thin people will think this is funny and be inspired to purchase their product,) than will refuse to be customers because we believe it’s despicable to use sizeism to sell blinds (or anything else.)

I am really disappointed in Blinds to Go for using sizeism/ageism/lack of conformity to the single stereotype of beauty to sell their product, instead of finding a way to advertise the need for privacy that doesn’t suggest that some people should hide themselves from the world because of how they look.

I am sad to live in a world where this ad got made  – where nobody stopped the process and said “we don’t want body shaming to be the image of Blinds to Go.”  It is a seriously messed up society that concern trolls fat people in one breath insisting that we have some obligation to exercise and that no matter how much exercise we do it’s not enough unless we get thin, and in the next breath suggests that the idea of seeing fat people exercise is so horrifying that we should feel obligated to spend our money to protect people from the sight of us – as if we are responsible for accommodating both other people’s beliefs about how we should behave, and their bigotry about how we look.

I am also frustrated by arguments I’m seeing that suggest that this man shouldn’t be fat shamed because he is exercising, rather than the truth which is that he shouldn’t be fat shamed because fat shaming is never ok.  Screw the good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy.

Many fat people do yoga at home not because they choose to but because of the very real possibility (or past experience) of being fat shamed at a yoga studio, so screw Blinds to Go for trying to convince us that if people can see us in our own homes then we haven’t done enough to hide ourselves from the world, and that we don’t have the right to do yoga in our homes with the sun shining through our windows.

Inevitably it will be suggested that those who speak out against fat people being used as the butt of a joke for someone else’s profit are too sensitive, need to get a thicker skin, or learn to take a joke. As if we should think that the idea that looking at us is horrifying, and that we are responsible for fixing it by hiding ourselves, is hilarious.  The suggestion that we should be willing to participate in our own oppression to avoid being accused of lacking a sense of humor is, in and of itself, oppressive.

Fat people who are being fat in public (or in our own homes without blinds) are fine as we are and it doesn’t matter if we are exercising, or eating, or just hanging out.  The people who are wrong are those who are laboring under the misapprehension that they are owed “aesthetically pleasing,” “beautiful,” and/or “fuckable,” by their own definitions from everyone they meet including everyone whose windows they peer into, and that people who they don’t want to look at should hide themselves.  I’ve said it on this blog before and I’ll say it again – Don’t like the way I look?  Feel free to practice the ancient art of…wait for it…looking at something else. You can do it, I believe in you.

Activism Opportunity – Tell Blinds to Go what you think:

UPDATE:  Click here to see the update!

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24 thoughts on “Blinds To Go No No

  1. This reminds me of Ugly Naked Guy from “Friends”. No, it’s not okay if you’re fat, but if you absolutely insist on being fat and killing yourself by girth and causing my medical insurance to go up because of your face-stuffing attitudes, then please, for the love of cats, do so in your apartment when the blinds down where I don’t have to see because it really upsets me if my little delicate snowflake of an eye ball happens to see you. But then again, if I can use your fatness to turn a buck, then it’s win-win for me.

    You can see how I’m conflicted here.

  2. “Fat people who are being fat in public” – The man was just living in his own home – doing what people do at home – and it is not on him to prevent others from seeing him there – this is his home – his castle – who does not want to see what goes on in other people’s private-lives should just look away – in fact even those who want to know what is going on in other people’s home should look away, anything else is too close to “Peeping Tom”-business.

  3. Nitpick alert: I agree with the rest of your points, but….

    I’m reasonably sure they weren’t trying to target a market of fat people who do yoga at home and don’t already have blinds or drapes. That’s a really tiny market.

    Instead, I bet the line of thought was “here’s a funny joke which will cause people to notice and remember our blinds”.

    I appreciate the work you’re doing to tell the world that fat people are real people rather than icons of some symbolism about their fat.

    1. Thanks Nancy, the idea that they were targeting fat people who do yoga at home was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, sorry that it wasn’t clear.  Thanks for the kind words about my work.



  4. I think it’s really sad they are doing this. I am really inclined to tell them my honest, unfiltered opinion through the link you posted at the bottom. Come on, aren’t fat people hiding enough already because people won’t let them be how they are? Everyone should not only be okay to be themselves at home but everywhere else too, but this is particularly shocking. What next? A commercial that tells fat people to get rid of their windows, because someone’s sensitive eye might catch a glimpse of them through the blinds and be offended by their “ugliness”? I think it’s time governments took fat shaming seriously and stopped it. NOW.

  5. Personally I think the advert would work better for net curtains, they let the light in and protect the delicate sensitivities of the local busy bodies and peeping toms.

    Either that or have the punchline be: blinds, ’cause not everyone wants to be watched by nosey wankers…

    1. “blinds, ’cause not everyone wants to be watched by nosey wankers…”

      Completely full of awesome!

      1. It’s pretty much my motto for walking through the house naked when I’ve got the place to myself. 😀 I mean, hell, I’m not holding a neon sign that says, “LOOK AT ME!” Far as I’m concerned, you start lookin’ through my windows (or coming into my room uninvited, DAD), you get what you deserve.

        BTW, Dad’s not a pervert. He’s old, Aspie, spoiled rotten, and perpetually convinced I’m his little girl and much closer to seven than 37. Mom gave up on training both of us to be normal human beings ages ago, and found wine instead.

  6. My email to them (I did find the ad first, so I could write it from the perspective of having seen it firsthand), and so I could link to the specific ad. Since Ragen doesn’t want to share that here, I’ve removed the link from the message as posted below.

    It’s sickening to me that, with all the reasons a person might need blinds, Blinds To Go has resorted to body shaming as such a reason. This ad (removed link) which features and older, fat man is incredibly insensitive and stigmatizing for a group of people already stigmatized enough.

    Furthermore, as if the general stigma isn’t bad enough, the man is being physically active in the commercial, doing yoga! So not only does this suggest fat people shouldn’t be seen, it further suggests they especially shouldn’t be seen while being active.

    Please reconsider this ad, or at the very least, consider that there are plenty of clever, creative, non-stigmatizing ads to be made that would help sell blinds to be used in future campaigns. Frankly, dipping your toes into the fat shaming waters isn’t even clever. It’s just obvious and tactless.

    Considering the rise of eating disorders in this country and the number of people – including those who fit within the societally constructed norms of beauty – who already spend so much precious time hating their bodies, this ad is not only judgmental, crass and insensitive… it’s also potentially harmful. Please consider this moving forward.

    Jessica X

  7. Hi, Ragen – I sent my feedback. Disgusting commercial. Thanks for another great column. Best, Cynthia.

  8. This is like the stain remover ad I saw. Not only is is fat shaming but gross as well. Also if you ever wanted my business that is not the way to do it.

  9. Dear Blinds to Go,

    I’m fat. While I’m fortunate to have a couple of yoga studios who are not shaming and bullying, I often practice at home simply because it is the best way to have the most peaceful and individualized experience possible.

    I have blinds. For yoga, I *OPEN THEM* to let in the beautiful sunshine while I practice. In my sports bra and short shorts.

    You may shut the fuck up now, okay? Okay.

  10. Used your link and left feedback. It says their designers will reply within 24 hours. I am interested to see what their reply will be…

  11. Sent my 2 cents to them. Asked for a retraction of the commercial and an apology not just to fat folks, but to anyone who “looks a certain way” (sorry I am not at my eloquent best at this hour, I am sure there is a better phrase for “you’re fat ,you should hide, or you’re albino, you should hide, or you have lots of tattoos and piercings, you should hide”)

  12. “Inevitably it will be suggested that those who speak out against fat people being used as the butt of a joke for someone else’s profit are too sensitive, need to get a thicker skin, or learn to take a joke.”

    My girlfriend might kill me for saying this (though she also might kiss me), but my automatic thought here was, “I will learn to take a joke about the demonization and suggested genocide of a goodly subset of the population when Jews can take a joke about the Holocaust.”

    Yeah, I don’t lay the gauntlet. I drop the whole fucking suit of armor.

    My gf is Jewish, btw. That was probably fairly obvious.

    1. Excellent. I also think this compares to windows as hijab: windows hide unacceptable fat ppl, veils cover unacceptable female hair.

  13. Okay, I went and tracked down the advert…it’s on YouTube.

    Yeah, it’s pretty bad, people. And to me, I don’t really see what’s supposed to be offensive about a fat guy doing yoga. It’s more of the “Well, everybody is going to feel the same way about this, so let’s run with it” mindset, the red-headed step-child of Everybody Knows.

    I also noticed the two “horrified observers” were both very thin. God forbid diddums should have to look at people who are different. I personally don’t like her hairstyle, but I’m not about to suggest she wear a box over her head.

    Gods, it’s revolting.

  14. I wrote, but I don’t have a lot of hope for a good result. Most likely, they’ll try to sell me blinds. Sigh…

  15. Yes, thank you for writing about this ad. It bothered me too and I appreciate you posting a convenient way to write to them. Just posted it tonight. Here it is:

    Hi there. I think it is despicable for you to create an ad that mocks older white haired men who are overweight doing yoga, and suggesting that they are not acceptable to be viewed by a “good looking thin couple.” It is called body shaming and it is bullying of people who are older, overweight and also, takes a stab at the yoga community for the pure intention of yoga (which is for spiritual and physical health).
    When I see this ad, I cringe at the mindset that created this – as well as want to ask why is it that the “cute young thin couple” are staring into the man’s window in the first place?
    If you have any class at all, you would allow someone their privacy, Blinds or not!

    Thank you for convincing me NOT TO BUY Blinds-to-go.

    From a woman who values her privacy and her self esteem.

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