A glam woman, hair and make-up flawless and her black gown low-cut, sits down at an upmarket restaurant for dinner. But it’s her tiny dinner companions that have turned heads. The photo of a mum breastfeeding her twin babies appears in an ad for a luxury fitness chain. It’s dividing opinion on the hot topic of where and when it’s considered appropriate to breastfeed – and what a breastfeeding mum has to do with gym memberships anyway.
Posted to the Equinox Facebook page, the controversial advertisement drew praise – and criticism – almost immediately. The image is accompanied by the caption “Table for one. Dinner for three. #CommitToSomething”. It’s logged more than 12,000 likes and 5000 shares, but the comments are not so kind. One woman called it “gross” and some have even vowed to cancel their gym memberships.
“What a horrible and ridiculous ad from a gym! And the point is commitment? Bad taste to say the least,” Renata Caprioglio writes. From Jorge Vila, this: “it’s one of the most distasteful ads I’ve come across! Shame on you Equinox!”
Stephanie Sabato Sandarciero says the ad for the US gym chain is absurd. “I nursed my daughter for eight months so I’m obviously pro nursing … but with that said I would never make anyone uncomfortable, especially in a restaurant… I don’t know what this has to do with your gym.”
The photo is one of seven images in the gym chain’s new campaign, pushing that its members need to commit to anything in life. Equinox says the advertisements “are a virtuous expression of taking deliberate action, of going ‘all in’.”
“Equinox is about commitment, we are obsessed with it, and we challenge our members to know who they are and what they want. It’s not just about fitness — it’s about life,” gym spokesman Carlos Becil says, in a statement.
“As a breastfeeding mama, I know that doing so is maybe one of the biggest commitments I have ever made with my body. Love it!” writes Desiree Morton.
Another writes: “Contrary to popular belief, some of us breastfeeding mothers are into more than just wearing robes and eating leftover chicken nuggets. We won’t be punished for choosing to breastfeed and we won’t hide as if it’s shameful.”
“Love this ad! Targeting women who have just had babies. So smart. The first thing most women want is to be back to their pre-baby bodies…everyone saying this ad has nothing to do with a gym definitely knows nothing about subliminal messaging and marketing,” Desiree Samento says.
Similar polarising opinions were evident when a breastfeeding mum took to social media in December to share her anger and frustration at a stranger’s looks of disgust as she breastfed her son in public.
The Australian Breastfeeding Project is currently on a tour of Australia to shake the stigma associated with breastfeeding in public, and breastfeeding beyond two years.