Sunday 23 October 2016

Colette Fitzpatrick: So now we have to look like this before we set foot on the beach in summer?

The protein world ad
The protein world ad
Gail O'Rorke with her husband Barry at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where she was found not guilty
Walter White
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor
Abercrombie and Fitch

In case you haven't left the house or indeed interacted with anyone in the last few years, you need to know that protein is BIG right now. Everyone is on it and everywhere is selling it.

Take a quick goo at your colleagues' lunch. The buff colleagues, as well as the not so buff. There's probably a protein bar in there.

Those big plastic flasks they're carrying - well, they're full of protein shakes and drinks.

It seems to be that protein is shorthand for dieting, fitness and the body beautiful.

You used to be only able to get protein supplements in gyms and health shops. Now supermarkets are selling them.

This nutritional hobbyist thinks the gist of the phenomenon is this - protein is filling and so you tend to pick less and if you are working out a lot, you need extra protein to replace the muscle. Either way, most of us have a link in our heads about protein and slim, fit bodies.

Protein World is a company selling all things protein to, according to its website, "gym-goers, runners, cyclists, swimmers, football players, endurance nuts and even busy mums".

But it's at the centre of a storm because of a series of billboards on the London Underground. The 'are you beach body ready?' ads feature a slim model in a bikini. Thousands of people, angry about the inference that you should only go to the beach if you look like a slim model, have shared pictures, using the hashtag #everybodysready.

Tens of thousands have signed an online petition for the posters to be removed and protesters have organised a "taking back the beach" protest in London's Hyde Park.

Protein World hasn't caved in to the by now standard campaign and complain way this story is unfolding.

It says what's going on here is actually fit-shaming and not fat-shaming.

Come on. No one feels self-conscious because they're fit or slim.

Being called skinny might not be ideal but it's nothing like being called fat or lazy. It's just not, so stop pretending it is.

To be fair, Protein World shouldn't solely be taking the hit for women being told that they need to look stunning all the time; that what they look like and not what they do, matters.

Have a look around. Everybody's pushing the annual "time to get ready for the hols/get your legs out/defuzz/tan/diet" message.

I'm quite sure the company is, in a way, playing the protesters themselves.

Their ire has sort of been counter productive because no doubt the company's sales and brand awareness are now through the roof.

This much I know. Even if you don't exercise, even if you have way more fat around your middle/bum/legs than you'd like, if you have a body and want to feel the sun on your skin, then you're beach ready.

What would you do if a family member asked you to help them end it all?

I can't begin to imagine being asked to help someone to die.

What I would do or say if a member of my family or a close friend said they simply couldn't take it anymore and begged me to help bring them some peace or dignity by helping to end their life?

I don't know what I'd say or do. It's such a moral and ethical dilemma. The person asking would probably frame it as being humane and yet you'd be helping to kill them, if you said yes.

Bar the moral dilemma and emotional stress, what is still unclear is where you'd stand legally if such a situation came up in your family. Suicide has been decriminalised here but there is no constitutional right to assisted suicide.

Gail O'Rorke

In other words, you could spend 14 years behind bars if you helped someone do something, that if they did alone, would be legal.

There are all sorts of questions and uncertainties in the wake of Gail O'Rorke's acquittal this week of assisting her friend to end her own life.

What is not at issue is that Ms O'Rorke was an exceptionally decent person and a great friend. Nor that the travel agent at the centre of the case had to act once he was informed of the booking, lest he himself be open to criminal proceedings.

But if you take the you can't help someone take their own life law to its extremes and pay for a taxi, say, that brings someone to the airport to travel to Dignatas in Switzerland, have you broken the law?

Should they set up a desk after security at airports where they can ask: "Business? Pleasure? Suicide?"

A bill will be coming before the Dáil soon setting out how the law should be amended.

It will no doubt be informed by the case of Gail O'Rorke and previously that of Marie Fleming.

But what the laws can't do is help us personally deal with the moral and ethical dilemma of helping to kill someone because they've asked you to.


Is Tom or Nidge the real film star?

I'm looking forward to seeing Tom Vaughan-Lawlor's new film The Infiltrators. Love/Hate's Nidge looks almost unrecognisable in some of the behind-the-scenes pictures tweeted from Florida.

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor

He's rocking a skinny 'tache and it gives the criminal kingpin an even more ominous look. More ganster-y, more shady, more drug dealer-y. Yet Vaughan-Lawlor is actually playing a customs official.

He's a sidekick to Byran Cranston (Breaking Bad's Walter White) who plays a man who discovers a money-laundering scheme involving Colombian druglord Pablo Escobar. What they really need of course is for Nidge to ratchet up the villain factor.


At last, shirts are back in fashion

Good news for us merely average looking people. They're taking the abs out of Abercrombie & Fitch. Yes, the shirtless young models are no more. Retail assistants will no longer be known as 'models' but as 'brand representatives' and won't have to be beautiful human specimens just to fold a T-shirt.

Abercrombie & Fitch

The company is abolishing the 'attractiveness' qualification for new workers. What? This must mean there's more to life than being really good-looking. Seriously? Someone better tell the tweens and teens. It seems the company has copped on to the fact that creating an atmosphere of exclusivity only pushes away punters with cash. If only Hollister would think about revamping its stores. Turn down the volume and turn up the lights for a start.

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