Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beach body ready?

This ‘beach body’ ad has been at the centre of much controversy this week, both on and off line.
The ad, promoting a meal replacement supplement, appeared on the London Underground. It depicted a slim blond woman, with large breasts, dressed in a skimpy yellow bikini. It asked ‘ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY’?

The Advertising Standards Agency has received over 200 complaints, the majority of which were based on the premise that the ad promoted an unhealthy body image. Others said it was sexist.

A number of the ads have been defaced. Commenting on the defaced posters Arjun Seth (Chief Executive of Protein World) told London Evening Standard that it had been done by "irrational extremists".

The backlash against the ad also got really personal when Juliette Burton added her name to an online petition against the ad. To date the petition has attracted over 25,000 signatures. Juliette also added the following comment to her signature: ‘I spent my life feeling I wasn't good enough.’

Her comment was tweeted and the company responded with: ‘Why make your insecurities our problem'? A heated argument ensued, details of which can be found here.

Summarising her thoughts on the ad Juliette said:

“ ‘Beach ready’ is one of many lazy campaigns using images of slender, toned female models or beefed-up muscular men alongside text that implies, ‘this is what an acceptable body looks like’ ”.

 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The pressure to remain fat

In May article we discuss the pressure in the plus size blogosphere for bloggers to be and remain fat.

Excerpt:

"I'm getting married next year", plus size blogger Georgina Horn explained. “It would be nice to feel a bit happier and look back and think I kind of look good on my wedding day rather than look back and think I looked crappy.

“I want to have kids in a few years. I want to be in the best possible place where I can run around after them. I want to be able to give my kids a really good childhood. I don't want to be a mum who's just sitting sat there catching her breath, because she's not physically fit; fitness isn't a size.

Georgina shares details of her weight loss regime online with her 40,000 followers; some of whom have expressed feelings of betrayal.

"I never thought that people would react the way that some of them have", said Georgina. “For example 'you are a role model for me and now you've gone and changed how you look', it's as though they have put too much focus on the way that I look.

“I'm a bit exhausted about some of the stuff that people say and assume... and the emails and the messages at the moment; it's quite full on.

“Some of the other bloggers have been a bit funny. They can go and ***** themselves to be honest. "

Read Article

 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Plus size fashion - Rights and wrongs

When viewing Channels 4’s ‘Plus Size Wars’ this week, the one thought that almost instantly entered and remained in my mind throughout the entirety of the program was: ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right’.

For many years we have listened to and joined in the debate about unhealthily thin models, that presents society at large with a super skinny ‘ideal’. There have been public campaigns, medical disapproval complete with BMI recommendations, government debate and introspection at all levels of the fashion industry; all aimed at minimizing native health related consequences.

We applaud the growth of plus size fashion brands that enable women whose dress size is larger than size 16 to dress fashionably; they have had to wait for a very long time. However, we fervently question the use of morbidly obese models to showcase plus size clothing.

Why? All the arguments against the use of super skinny models also apply to the use of morbidly obese ones. The promotion of unhealthy bodies, super skinny or super sized, sends out the wrong message.

The depiction of very thin models and celebrities in the media has often bared the brunt of the blame and criticism associated with the rise in the number of individuals with negative body image and eating disorders. Many who idealise and try to emulate the thin ideal end up with mental and physical health issues. It does not take a genius to see that exactly the same can be said for anyone idealising/emulating morbidly obese models, as this negates the need to address their weight/health issues.

Andrew Killingsworth is Managing Director of ‘Yours’. Yours has recently teamed up with plus size model Tess Holliday (above photo). Tess is 25 years old, 5 foot 5 and is a size 24-26.
When asked why the company had selected Tess; Mr Killingsworth replied:

“She is very current, she's very relevant, she is confident in her own skin and if she can pass that on to people who are less confident then that's very good.”

Subsequently, when pressed about her unhealthy weight he responded: “It is in our business you know. She's got beauty and confidence. You see a beautiful confident woman; you don't see her size”. He then asked the rhetorical question: “You don't judge her by her size do you”? Followed by, “…. we don't”.

Forgive our candour, but fashion industry heads should be making ethical integrity based judgement on the message that the chosen face/body of their company/campaign is broadcasting to the general public;
particularly to people with confidence, body image and weight issues’?

To make things absolutely clear, we are not saying that larger women should not be able to dress fashionably; far from it. As stated above: ‘We applaud the growth of plus size fashion brands that enable women whose dress size is larger than size 16 to dress fashionably’.

In a nutshell; we are saying that in our opinion, the decision to promote unhealthy models/celebrities at either extreme of the ‘healthy weight’ spectrum is flawed.

 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Diverse Empji's

One of the most amazing and remarkable facts about human beings, is the degree of uniqueness and diversity that exists. Each individual is unique, yet they share many characteristics with others e.g. Ethnicity.

Often, particularly in the media and advertising, diversity is abandoned in favour of creating a stereotypical, often unrealistic ideal; a one (limited selection of) size/shape/colour… fits all approach. In consequence, many individuals /groups in society are not represented or they are misrepresented.

Last week Apple, in an effort to better represent society, bucked the ‘one fits all’ trend by introducing ‘more diverse' emoji’s in their iOS 8.3 update. Their emoi’s now come in six skin tones and include an option to turn a character yellow, to indicate that it was ethnically neutral.

Apple has gone one step further than introducing diverse individuals; racially diverse and same-sex families have also been added.

 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Angelina Jolie - 'Different is good'

 This week Angelina Jolie gave an inspiring message to the local and world wide audiences viewing her appearance at the Nickelodeon Awards. She was there to collect her ‘villain’ award for her role in the film Maleficent.

“When I was little, like Maleficent”, she said. “I was told that I was different…And I felt out of place — too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still, never good at fitting in.

“And, then one day I realized something, something that I hope you all realize …..

“Different is good.”

Well said!