SBC under fire for degrading Kenya trip

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by stargirl, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. stargirl

    stargirl Grand Dame

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    I know a lot of you guys adore Russel Batemen and his Skinny Bitch Collective, we’ve even had a challenge in his name (sorry @proseccoprincess). However, I couldn’t excuse the nature of this Kenya retreat and how degrading, ignorant and shocking this whole thing is. I ripped all the photos straight of @diet_prada if you want to read further.


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    The result of the backlash ^

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    His apology ^^ (also ‘orientalised portrayals’ in the bottom left???)

    He was also accused of exploiting the sexualised nature of women ‘fighting as though over a man’ and how he’s kinda pervy, but I’ll let you guys interpret that yourselves.

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    More links:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...fitness-retreat-blasted-colonial-mindset.html

    Comments:

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    Someone said it looked like a trailer for a Jordan Peele movie :lol:
     
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  2. proseccoprincess

    proseccoprincess Grand Dame

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    I was waiting for someone to bring this up :sneaky:

    As someone who knows Russell, I can say he isn't as creepy/pervy/racist(??) as people seem to think he is now. He's just very wrapped up in his brand to the point where he doesn't realize what's appropriate, and he's been not-PC for the longest time anyway so this isn't completely out of character. The retreat (which btw cost 10k GBP) was obviously ill-conceived, but Diet Prada is going too far now imo with their story highlight bashing his class and comments he made in interviews. Like, this isn't an exposé, he's been doing this stuff openly for years and the people who were turned off by it ignored it, and the people who liked it, liked it. It's all just branding (which admittedly doesn't sit well in the #metoo era), he's not being accused of assaulting or harassing anybody, he just messed up and now his brand is being destroyed. Also, the white girls in the video aren't representative of his actual class, which has girls of many different ethnicities, they're just whoever could cough up 10k or was close enough friends with him to get a discount.

    To be clear, I think he deserved the initial call-out, not so much what came after.
     
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  3. xoxoadore

    xoxoadore Worker Bee

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    doesn't that in itself tell you there is a problem here? ^ only white models where willing to go/pay/had the means to pay...
     
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  4. proseccoprincess

    proseccoprincess Grand Dame

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    Very few of those girls were actually models (none of them HF), but yes point taken.
     
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  5. proseccoprincess

    proseccoprincess Grand Dame

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    It's still going...
     
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  6. gracilis

    gracilis Grand Dame

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    The videos were weird, gross, and just terribly uncomfortable. Such an awkward juxtaposition between the hip-thrusting, scantily clad women working out in a field peppered by Maasai women in traditional garb. The Maasai women were literally just used as scenery.

    I agree with you here...as bad a decision as the Kenyan marketing videos were, 'cancel culture' is dumb and overdone. Let people make errors sometimes. Let brands fix things. There are different degrees of "bad behavior" and cancel culture ignores that.

    This read as a gross oversight, not as "I regularly rely on dehumanizing black women into nothing more than exotic decorations for my fitness platform." Regularly being key. If it's a one off let him apologize, fix it, and move on?

    Or do we get more views throwing tantrums, accusing those who try to moderate our position as being "part of the problem" with our dichotomous categorizations and love of pure sensationalism? :rolleyes:
     
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  7. proseccoprincess

    proseccoprincess Grand Dame

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    I fully agree with this sentiment, but I think the "cancel culture" mindset actually makes a lot of sense here because now the convo has shifted to objections about his pervy marketing, filming girls working out, "male gaze", aka things he's been doing forfuckingever and are a CORNERSTONE of his brand. It's not like SBC was a loved and generally approved thing before this, it was always kind of in its niche and attracted a certain crowd. The Africa retreat was a catalyst for all this and kind of made it go mainstream. It's different from say, Gucci makes a sweater that reminds people of blackface, thus people boycott Gucci and throw away all of their old Gucci items.
     
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  8. smallthing

    smallthing Super Star

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    Frankly, I’m surprised the Kenyan government even allowed this. Maasai lands are highly protected and in Tanzania, non-Maasai people actually need permits to visit Maasai lands that aren’t part of the Serengeti (and these permits aren’t granted lightly). Given that SBC would have had to take extensive measures to be allowed to do this, I am inclined to believe it was intentional.

    That being said, a culture based on moral outrage is not sustainable. I’m all for pointing out these mistakes, but Christ, give them a chance to recover and do better.
     
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  9. moins

    moins Grand Dame

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    In response to the Kenya video:

    From what Russell Bateman's apology said it sounds like the Maasai tribes women were voluntarily in the video. But obviously, we don't know that for sure and he could just be saying that.

    I saw his apologies and they sounded sincere and actually intelligent to me. He took blame for being somewhat insensitive/ignorant and props to him for correctly using the term intersectionality ;)

    That being said, of course there was going to be a backlash no matter what. Even if everyone in the video had a good conscious about it. Someone will always be upset.

    To be honest, at times it can be quite bothersome how sensitive people are and this "correct culture." It takes away the seriousness from real issues. If every little thing becomes offensive it undermines bigger issues that need to be addressed in the world.

    Bottom line, intent is the biggest factor. If it was Russel's intent to create some sort of tongue in cheek jab (a la Dolce & Gabbana) at the Maasai, than absolutely not okay, but he probably wasn't even thinking about that.
     
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  10. stargirl

    stargirl Grand Dame

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    The videos of the girls dancing around the Masai tribal women and using them like obstacles or props was deeply unsettling and honestly vile. It takes a certain level of ignorance to not even see how that could potentially be problematic. My guess is that he’s so wrapped up in himself and his brand that he didn’t even realise— I can’t imagine anyone would purposely be so racist and creepy knowing the backlash they would receive.

    I don’t think it’s so much ‘only white women can afford this’ cause that’s far from the truth. I imagine there are countless women of colour who can afford to throw £10k at a workout class (sounds so ridiculous); to me it speaks higher volumes about the type of person that wouldn’t see the fault in exploiting vulnerable people in Kenya with no clue what’s going on. And in this case that is priveliged white upper class women.

    Also, I’m bugged about Diet Prada switching the conversation to Russel’s kinda perviness instead of his (perhaps unintentional) racism. Filming consenting women to fuel his weird fighting fetish =/= using African women as props in a workout video. I think @The Bullcock would agree that ‘perving’ on skinny, consenting women isn’t always a bad thing ;) Diet Prada is undermining the actual issue at hand with the narrative of SBC being some sort of sex cult and I find that almost as problematic as the original issue.
     
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  11. xoxoadore

    xoxoadore Worker Bee

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    ^that's why I specified willing to go, I know there are POC that can afford this retreat lol but they wouldn't sign up for it because they maybe did see the problem in it
     
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  12. proseccoprincess

    proseccoprincess Grand Dame

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    Doubtful... the retreat wasn't advertised as "we're gonna go to Kenya and do burpees around the Maasai tribe". I know firsthand, the main reason girls- and not just black girls, girls of all ethnicities- didn't sign up was the price.
     
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  13. elle_w00ds

    elle_w00ds Grand Dame

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    Ah, yes, the Maasai woman who is customarily reduced to male property, circumcised, and married off in her teens is never so degraded as when she performs jumping jacks alongside a white chick with a body complex. Someone call the psychiatrist, surely this dehumanising event must have left her an utter cripple (I call PTSD!); if only she was literate she would find in the DSM all the diagnoses at the intersection of which her newfound marginalisation can be located. But at least she won't have to suffer long: she is expected to crumble sometime in her forties, undoubtedly thankful then as now for the razor sharp intellect and compassionate bent of the Diet duo as they shine a light on the truly important issues! #Blessed.

    (Oh, and 'orientalisation' is very much a concept, but it just goes to show how utterly incompetent Diet Prada is that they failed to recognise it for anything but 'racism' :eyeroll: )
     
    #13 elle_w00ds, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  14. elle_w00ds

    elle_w00ds Grand Dame

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    Btw, can we just take a moment to appreciate how Gigi 'transgenderism is about shapes' Hadid and Bella, who perpetuates the most outrageous lies to court public opinion (and also advertises Dubai as a travel destination presumably without realising it's funded by slave labour), are exploiting this 'travesty' to win brownie points with the ignorant mob?
     
    #14 elle_w00ds, Mar 11, 2019
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  15. stargirl

    stargirl Grand Dame

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    @elle_w00ds May I ask what there was to ‘dislike’ about my post? I don’t actually disagree with anything you said; the issues that Masai women face to begin with indefinitely outweigh being used as accessories in a sexualised workout video for social media. But I also don’t think we should dismiss the fact that Russell, who in this situation should know better, essentially charged £10k to do his average workout in a field with the Masai women dancing robotically like accessories. I don’t think that’s right at all.

    Fully aware that screaming ‘omigod he totes objectified them so racist and pervy ew #cancelled’ comes across super fake woke and white feminist but I do want to stress that my initial question was a genuine one. If I’m appearing too sheepish or PC please elaborate and let me know cause like... ew. Diet Prada is far from perfect and I think making a big deal out his ‘perviness’ is unnecessary, but I also want to mitigate dismissals of the initial ignorance demonstrated by SBC in the first place.

    In short, fuck Russell’s blatant cultural disregard, but chill out Diet Prada.
     
  16. elle_w00ds

    elle_w00ds Grand Dame

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    I disliked your post because of a) the unsubstantiated accusations 'vile' and 'deeply unsettling’, and b) this piece of (perhaps unintentional) racism: '...exploiting vulnerable people in Kenya with no clue what’s going on'.

    But I’ll go on, for I’ve truly had it with Diet Prada’s scummy policing of public conversation:

    Objectifying people in play, e.g. using them as obstacles, is not necessarily wrong, and is a practice featured in literally every SBC workout. See also: schoolyard games, cheerleading, leapfrog. Had Russell and his posse journeyed to Cambridge instead of Kenya and similarly incorporated the boat race crew in their video, I very hardly believe anyone would have taken such morally righteous offence. Sure, it’s dopey af but not an affront to human dignity, and being crude was never a crime (but defamation is, and Diet Prada’s business model is predicated on something in its close vicinity).

    So what makes the two scenarios different? The only variable is the props themselves, and interpretation premised on the ex hypothesi difference between ‘us’ Westerners and the women in the workout is actually suprematist and a direct continuation of the orientalist tradition which Saïd outlines in his book. Diet Prada’s outrage is neither honest nor appropriate, but rather an exercise in affirming their own moral superiority (which I suspect is the only way to climax for these desolate souls), and they do so by unfairly discriminating against the Maasai people. SBC does not. Their clips are not purported as authoritative representations of the Maasai but celebrations of the culture which had warmly hosted their workout excursion—perhaps flippantly so, but that’s mostly a formal error, as respect is hard to convey whilst maintaining loyalty to a brand centred on butts. Meanwhile, the Diet Prada duo’s personal IGs currently feature shots performing mock prayer in the Sistine Chapel.

    As for the whole ‘sexism’ thing, SBC is targeted exclusively at women and enjoys commercial success, so it might just be that he sells a picture of femininity that women themselves actually approve of—and it really takes a special kind of hypocrisy for a not-too-well-read male behind DP to insert himself as the credible voice in that equation.
     
    #16 elle_w00ds, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  17. stargirl

    stargirl Grand Dame

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    Personally I don’t exactly see it as ‘racist’ to presume the Masai women in Kenya will not fully comprehend the niche, hypersexualised nature of an SBC class— I barely do myself. As for ‘vulnerable’, I think your graphic entails of the degradation the Masai women face makes them ‘vulnerable’ enough, at least in their society compared to male counterparts.

    And just to play the devil’s advocate, I must admit I think the reason that commenters would be less outraged with SBC joining in an amicable boat race is that, a) Cambridge isn’t a protected area you need a licence to access, b) punting holds little cultural weight beyond a fun university sport and c) rich white people using Cambridge scholars as obstacles and props doesn’t exactly have the same connotations of (perhaps this is a stretch) enslavement and colonialism that it does in this scenario. But I digress.

    Ultimately, I’ll admit I don’t consider myself educated in this topic beyond what quick google searches and skim reading articles on the subject have enlightened me with. My responses are probably dripping with errors in both grammar and logic, partly due to the fact they’ve all been written between classes and over lunch breaks, but regardless I stick to my original sentiment: the videos presented from the Kenya trip were unsettling at least and in my opinion, extremely problematic. I don’t agree with most of what Diet Prada have said, they were simply a vehicle with which I found out all of this and a supplier of most of the footage and content I gathered for this thread. I’m pretty sure we agree on most points here so I really wish to avoid this turning into anything more than a genuine debate of interest.
     
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  18. Valentina

    Valentina Worker Bee

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    I've been fantasizing about attending one of his classes for so long... :cry:

    I agree that his african retreat was inapropriate, but why does the backlash suddenly turns into critiques that were unheard of until now? (i.e. sexual, predator behaviour..)

    An acquaintance of mine who lives in London was actually contacted by him to attend his class. She is thin but very very fit and still told me she didn't enjoy it and found it hard to keep up.

    I'd love to hear from someone who's actually been in a class of his or had experience with Russell.
     
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  19. elle_w00ds

    elle_w00ds Grand Dame

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    To be clear, I am not advocating for a view of Maasai women as disenfranchised simpliciter, only relative to contemporary Western values. I'll leave the other points be, I can sympathise with your sincere intentions but they are, I believe, sadly misguided. And while we arrive there from slightly different perspectives, we ultimately do agree that the workout promos were unfortunate :)
     
    #19 elle_w00ds, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  20. xxAudreyxx

    xxAudreyxx Worker Bee

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    This is 100% accurate, and it serves rightly as the diagnosis for all of these self-righteous instagram/social media moral crusades on the part of clueless westerners who lack other sources of meaning and (particulalry moral) grounding in their lives other than whatever is the social justice cause du jour (I’m looking at you, Bella Hadid).
     
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