Photo Credit: Rachele Cateyes
Imagine that you had done a lot of work to love and appreciate your body. Imagine that, as a celebration of that, you bought a bikini and had a photoshoot to celebrate. Now imagine a weight loss company uses it as a “before” picture in thousands of Facebook ads to sell their product, and that you only found out because your friends and co-workers started asking you what was going on.
Rachele Cateyes doesn’t have to imagine any of this, because it’s happening to her. Rachele is a positive body-image blogger at Near Sighted Owl and last year she posted this amazing photo of herself to “send a powerful message about body positivity.”
Anchors away! I finally have myself a proper high-waisted fatkini. I took my body and put it on a beach and voila! Beach body! Wearing a bikini as a fat woman is an act of rebellion. I felt glorious and glamorous all at the same time. I wore my stretch marks as ribbons of honor and let the sun kiss my lumpy thighs and arms without a care in the world.
Rachele obviously rocks and so does this photo. So imagine her horror when friends, fans, and even co-workers started reporting to her that they were seeing the photo used in ads for a weight loss product with taglines like “why women should never diet like a man”, or “how to cut down your body fat.” Not just a couple of ads but, thanks to an affiliate program, the use of the picture was spiraling out of control. Both they and Facebook are profiting over the use of her image, not just without her consent but in opposition to everything that she and the picture stand for. Some people even made the mistake of thinking that she was giving up her activism and body positivity to pursue the profits of the diet world.
Rachele was not about to stand by and let this happen. She posted the story on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter and other activists started making complaints. One of them saying “Honestly, I hope you get sued. And I hope your inbox is exploding right now with irate fatties explaining to you just how deeply you have screwed up. If it’s not, it will be soon. This has hit Tumblr. In the time it’s taken me to write this, it has been reposted about a hundred more times. God have mercy on you. The fatties of Tumblr won’t. We are like wolves when it comes to dealing with people like you. Really, really pissed-off fat wolves. And we run in packs. Undo what you have done, and apologize to Rachele. That’s all we want."
After receiving hundreds of negative messages Rachele started to get some action – the leadership of the parent company has become involved with ferreting out the affiliates who are misusing the picture and things are starting to improve.
There’s still work to do here and you can help. You can read the whole story in Rachele’s words here, and check out this video to learn how you can get involved: