"My knees are too fat."
July 24, 2013 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone remember this really obviously manipulative ad that ran in teen girl magazines in the US in the late 80s or early 90s? I'm looking for an image of it.

I think it was for a diet and exercise program. It filled at least half a page, maybe a full page. There was a photo of a conventionally attractive model in a swimsuit or maybe underwear, and a checklist consisting of dozens of "flaws" you were supposed to identify with your body - things like "My inner thighs are too chubby" or "My upper arms are too flabby" or "My butt is too scrawny." Ostensibly, the checklist was for you to fill out and mail to the company so they could tailor the program just for you. In reality, of course, the checklist was there to make vulnerable girls obsess about their bodies and sell the product to themselves.

I'd like to get a link to a clear image of this ad. Thanks!
posted by Mila to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Uggh, this probably isn't too helpful, but I definitely remember reading Teen magazine in the 90s and seeing those full page weight loss ads in the back. This FTC release rings a few bells.

The booklets at issue are titled: Swedish 19, Swedish System, BM Program, New Shape and Body Maker. Advertisements challenged in the FTC complaint detailing the charges include full page ads that ran in Teen magazine. The ads attached to the complaint include statements such as, "It doesn't matter whether you need to lose ten, twenty, even forty pounds or more. You can get them off and keep them off for good," and "[w]hen you use the Swedish System, you still get to eat the same foods you've been eating - including those snacks you love so much. It's not a diet...."

posted by redsparkler at 6:55 PM on July 24, 2013

I remember something like this as well, only instead of being an advertisement it was meant as more of a pick-me-up/parody to show that every girl has insecurities about their body.

Google fu is failing me to find the exact ad - any chance that's what you're thinking of?
posted by Autumn at 7:35 PM on July 24, 2013

Response by poster: Redsparkler has the right idea, and she jogged my memory that this probably ran in Teen or Seventeen magazine. I really don't think it was a parody, though it was ripe for being parodied in a cooler magazine like Sassy.
posted by Mila at 8:50 PM on July 24, 2013

I remember this in Seventeen magazine as late as 1997, if that helps.
posted by third word on a random page at 9:01 PM on July 24, 2013

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