If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest in the past year, you would have noticed the increase in ads from a certain non-diet diet company. My streams were bombarded, and despite reporting them as irrelevant or worse, they would still be there. It was not ideal, especially for a site called out for its problematic associations with eating disorder ideation in its early days. HuffPost covers the issues and their actions taken in 2012. But it seems the users weren’t the only ones feeling meh about the diet ads.


Well, it happened; Pinterest bans weight loss ads!


In a news post on their website, the company said it would also not allow ads promoting or discussing weight loss or weight loss products or ads referencing body mass index (BMI) or similar indexes. This policy came into effect July 1st, 2021, referencing a pathway to a weight-loss ad-free summer. Something that was suggested to them through their relationship with The National Eating Disorders Association. Here is the announcement post and some quotes from the article making the announcement.



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Ads promoting healthy lifestyles and habits or fitness services and products will still be allowed, as long as they don’t focus on weight loss.

This policy change was developed with the guidance and advice of NEDA. “The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) applauds Pinterest for taking a leadership position as the first platform to prohibit all ads with weight-loss language and imagery. NEDA is encouraged by this necessary step in prioritizing the mental health and well-being of Pinners, especially those impacted by diet culture, body shaming, and eating disorders. We are hopeful this global policy will encourage other organizations and companies to reflect on potentially harmful ad messages and to establish their own working policies that will create meaningful change,” said Elizabeth Thompson, Interim CEO for the National Eating Disorders Association.

(Also taken from Pinterest news page)


Policy timeline - Pinterest bans weight loss ads

source: Pinterest newsroom


In the Pinterest bans weight loss ads announcement article, Pinterest talks a lot about body neutrality. A move towards living and existing in a body that serves you and isn’t defined by how it looks or performs. This is something that I’ve been working towards for myself. A move that takes me away from the body positive movement that has become so co-opted and overrun. Instead, I’m moving towards something that frees me from this conversation entirely. Imagine that, a world free from discussions about the worthiness of bodies; what would be possible then?

Imagine being free from discussions about restrictions, diet pills, the newest fad diet or no-diet-diet or whatever it is being framed as. As women, predominately, imagine the time we would free up to discuss more of what matters to us. We would be free to discuss more of what collectively keeps us in our place. More of what we need and want without the restrictions of a culture focused on our bodies. I think about that all the time, how often we are controlled by this narrative of being attractive, small, or this generation’s version of perfect. What could we be doing instead?


This feels like a step in the right direction for me.


So, what do you think about Pinterest banning weight loss ads? Do you think diet ads should be banned on all social media sites? Pinterest has done it. And there are restrictions when it comes to weight loss on Facebook and Instagram. Is it time to pull the rug from under the diet industry and get back to a place where we treat each person and their body’s needs individually?


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