The activist at the center of this partnership is Zyahna Bryant, a student at the University of Virginia. Bryant made the announcement on her Instagram account, revealing that she had become a brand ambassador for Dove, with the aim of challenging the stigma surrounding being overweight.
In a video statement, Bryant articulated her perspective, saying, “My belief is that we should be centering the voices and the experiences of the most marginalized people and communities at all times.”
“So when I think about what fat liberation looks like to me,” Bryant continued, “I think about centering the voices of those who live in and who maneuver through spaces and institutions in a fat body.”
But the controversy regarding Bryant’s partnership with Dove does not stop at so-called “fat liberation.”
Bryant previously faced backlash after successfully getting a white student, Morgan Bettinger, suspended from the University of Virginia. Several months ago, Bryant claimed that she heard Bettinger refer to George Floyd protestors as “speed bumps.” Bryant shared this accusation with her large following on social media, leading to Bettinger being labeled as racist. Bryant demanded the university expel Bettinger and even filed a complaint with the student-run University Judiciary committee, alleging that Bettinger had jeopardized student health and safety.
However, after this incident unfolded, Bryant admitted that she may have “misheard” Bettinger’s comment. Furthermore, she failed to find any other witnesses who confirmed that Bettinger had made such statements, even though she claimed that Bettinger had made them in front of over two dozen people.
Bettinger ultimately graduated from the university but with a permanent stain on her record. She expressed the significant impact that this situation had on her life, stating, “The university has never had to answer for what their actions have done.”
By partnering with Bryant, Dove is actively choosing to ignore the fact that this woman ruined someone’s life over nothing. Or perhaps this is the exact reason they chose to partner with her.
This piece first appeared at TPUSA.