No Comment: “Skinny People Eat Skinny Pasta”

If you live in Los Angeles, you’re probably used to seeing billboards featuring barely dressed, thin, gorgeous models all over town. And if you’ve been paying attention recently, you may have seen those same models being used to advertise pasta—yes, pasta. With billboards now up in the L.A. area, new food brand skinnypasta has moved its marketing campaign out of the viral sphere and into the streets—and it’s hugely problematic.

Although the company claims that its product can be “enjoyed by everyone,” skinnypasta’s ads, both digital and physical, very clearly suggest otherwise. The company’s motto—emblazoned on its billboards, featured in its online ads and plastered on the side of its food truck—states, “Skinny people eat skinny pasta.” The underlying assumption? That a svelte physique automatically equals good health.

What’s more, the company recently jumped on the “clean eating” bandwagon, saying “skinnypasta is clean fuel that will have you running fast on your way to achieving your health and fitness goals!” The “clean” buzzword, a major trend of late, has lead to extreme diets (and even eating disorders) masquerading as “clean-eating” lifestyles. And medical professionals have written about how “the ‘eating clean’ philosophy is imbued with a considerable amount of pseudoscience and a large amount of the naturalistic fallacy.” If that wasn’t bad enough, the language of “clean” eating implies that those who don’t abide by those rules have a “dirty” lifestyle, assigning moral labels to personal choices.

Skinnypasta isn’t just trying to sell you pasta—it’s selling you the idea of a lighter, “guilt-free” you. And by branding itself as “skinnypasta,” and filling its ads with images of thin, fit bodies, the company is implying that bodies outside of those constraints aren’t active, healthy, or even engaged in “self-care.”

So, skinnypasta, unfortunately your problem can’t be easily fixed, because it starts with your name: no matter how natural, pesticide- and GMO-free your product is, no food is ever inherently “skinny.” You need to realize that skinny people can be unhealthy and healthy people can be fat if you really want your product to be something for “all to enjoy.

Tell skinnypasta what you think of its ads here.

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Photo taken from skinnypasta‘s Twitter



Emma Niles is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz and an editorial intern at Ms. Follow Emma on Twitter @emmalorinda.