Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Power of One and Social Networking

Brandon Field is a young teacher in Newfoundland.

This is what he wrote in Facebook to Loblaws, a national grocery chain in Canada:

An open letter to Loblaws:

I am writing this letter as a customer, a schoolteacher, and a concerned member of society.

This evening, I was in your Dominion location in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, when I saw an issue of the Nation
al Enquirer that I found extremely offensive. The cover story for this particular issue is "Best and Worst Beach Bodies." The magazine displays on its cover numerous photos of women with captions such as "Beauty, blubber and cellulite," "Belly disaster" and "Larger than life."

More and more, we are seeing the detrimental effects of bullying in our school system. These magazines, which are displayed prominently at every checkout, are a very real form of bullying. What's more, they further perpetuate the idea that women should have flawless bodies, thereby exacerbating the problem of negative body image, particularly among female youths, but also among all sexes and age groups.

As a schoolteacher, how am I to demonstrate to my students the importance of treating others with respect when everywhere they look society is sending a message to the contrary? I shudder at the thought of my teenage students seeing such magazines at your checkouts, only to question their own bodies.

I am sure that Loblaws has not fully considered the damaging effects that these magazines can have on teenagers, and society as a whole, and that you will agree that they have no place in your stores. I have recently seen many of your ads which promote your community involvement, including one filmed in St. John's. If your company is truly dedicated to making a positive change in the community, then you will act swiftly to remedy this problem. I believe that as a responsible member of the Canadian business community, it is only prudent for your company to remove these negative tabloids from your stores.


Brandon Field
And Loblaws removed the offending magazine from their shelves.
And this went mainstream - here.
Brandon is my hero.


  1. Teachers have a very difficult time these days always fighting the inflowing tide. Well done to Brandon Field with this one.

  2. Yes, well done Mr Field!

    Social media sometimes promotes bad things but in this case a good thing was successfully promoted. Well done to social media too.

    And appreciation to the biggest food chain store in Canada for being responsive to their customers on an important social issue.

  3. This is but one small step in a journey that society must take. I have blogged about the trivialisation of women's appearance, the advertising blitz on beauty, the disastrous consequences like bulemia, anorexia etc. Brandon like figures must emerge in all societies to change attitudes.

  4. Good for him complaining about such negative commentary on other people's bodies. And good for the grocery responding to his complaint and removing the magazine. Unfortunately we still have a mountain to climb when it comes to getting rid of such destructive imagery altogether.

  5. Next to go should be the models on tv,women with bodies that most women could never attain and are left feeling insecure and inadequate.Get those models off the cover of magazines and puke rags like the one depicted .

  6. Well done Mr Field and the store for responding so positively to his well-justified complaint.

    Those tabloid rags are dreadful - I'm always surprised they retain a readership (I use the term loosely) sufficient to keep them in business.

  7. Good for him. I think it's especially important for men to speak out on this issue since women's body image often has to do with how idealized women are marketed to men (who are often eager consumers of those impossible images.)

  8. Speaking as an overweight woman I must say I am divided over this issue (magazine and actual issue). Free speech is an important right and many venues speak with photos as a picture is worth a is a very slippery slope when we start to try to put the brakes on what is offensive and what is not and these days with all this political correctness going on people are starting to be reserved about saying anything that may be offensive to anyone even if most would agree what they would say is true for most humans...if you do not like what is displayed or said you can walk away and vote with your money. My kneejerk reaction was the same as Brandon but closer evaluation brings up these other thoughts, so I am still vascillating. Do I have the right to say this is offensive for ALL I think not, and should I have the right to banish this if you like it or agree with it? I think not. If I banish it that takes away your right to see and buy it even if I think it is vile. Sorry but can't quite go there yet. Free speech is a great freedom to have and that doesn't mean you are free only to put out there what I personally agree with. Nope can't do that. Nope just cant. :(

  9. I don't look upon this as a free speech issue. It's just vulgar. If people don't object to cheap trashy popular culture this is what they get.

  10. Hattie, Try hard to imagine that for some people this might not be seen as vulgar...I know it's hard. Only some people will get "cheap trashy popular culture" the ones that desire that... the rest of us will get the culture we put our focus and energy on, there will always be things in life we find distasteful but I don't think I have the right to tell those people that what they desire to focus on is vile and vulgar because who knows maybe something you have an interest in would disgust me, if so do I have the right to keep YOU from it? I think not.

  11. Good to see. These magazines cynically and hatefully exploit insecurities and encourage the control and superficial judgement of women. Kudos to Brandon Field, and to the grocery chain for doing the right thing on this occasion.

  12. thank you all for your comments.

    Would you also advocate neo-nazi articles also on these tabloids facing children at the checkouts?

    Just asking.


    PS and why 'anon'?

  13. Well done, Brandon Field! I, too, saw this cover in one of our local supermarkets, and was disgusted by it. (Mind, it's not difficult to be disgusted by the National Enquirer). I often wonder who buys such utter rubbish. They must be very short on intellect.


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