The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wants to completely ban body-shaming ads.
In a statement obtained by The Guardian, Mayor Sadiq Khan said, “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end. Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this.”
It’s timely, considering that it’s June — or high time for people to put on their bathing suits.
Last year, Protein World came under fire when it asked consumers if they were “beach body ready.” Afterwards, UK ad watchdog firm Advertising Standards Authority received many complaints, and over 70,000 people signed an online petition to remove the ad. In April, UK ad watchdog firm The Advertising Standards Authority put out a call to attempt to end “gender stereotyping” in ads, an obvious step towards trying to improve the way products are sold to women.
Because let’s face it: women won’t respond kindly to these sorts of ads.
After all, body-shaming ads doesn’t bode well with the way that consumers’ values are changing. The emergence of models such as Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence has challenged people to reconsider their beauty standards; Graham’s groundbreaking appearance on the cover of the iconic Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition particularly showed that people’s beauty ideals have been changing.
Companies like Aerie have also encouraged women to feel comfortable as they are, and sales have soared as a result — proving that women respond to what’s real, not what’s fake. Most recently, the company has asked women to post photos of their own beach bodies. For every unretouched swimwear photo fans upload, the company donates $1 to the National Eating Disorders Association, according to its Instagram account.
Further, consumers have become generally more interested in wellness over dropping inches — and that’s killing the diet industry as a whole, as NPR reported earlier this year. It makes ads like the above seem particularly antiquated.
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