At this time of year, we’re usually met with a barrage of phrases encouraging us, in some form or another, to get ‘beach body ready’ in time for our holidays.
A UK ad campaign brought to this phrase to public attention last year. Last year, controversy surrounded a series of posters pasted in tube stations across London that asked women if they were ‘beach body ready’, while suggesting that – if they weren’t – they buy some slimming powder. The ads featured a perfectly slim, blonde female in a two-piece so flattering, it looked as if it were painted on. The consensus taken from the campaign was that if you didn’t resemble the warped image of (clearly photoshopped) perfection, you were by no means ‘beach body ready’ and diet pills were your only answer.
Suitable outrage followed the campaign; seventy thousand signed a petition to have it banned, a protest was staged in the city, but the Protein World adverts were ruled ‘not offensive’ by the ASA, despite this. And so, women were forced to see an unrealistic, unattainable image projected upon them every day. One could argue, it’s only one ad, but it is not the point. Its message is inherently dangerous as it’s yet another beauty campaign without an ounce of realism; ultimately telling women – many of whom are young and impressionable – that their bodies are not up to standard unless they possess a model figure. And hey, if you haven’t got one, don’t feel bad, take a diet pill, and you too can be ‘beach body ready.’ Frankly, such a phrase infuriates us here at IMAGE.
Thankfully, we’re not the only one heart sick of this campaign and phrasing. This week, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan announced that – from next month – they will no longer allow any adverts to be displayed among young people that promote unrealistic expectations about body image and health. The policy does not ban all images of people in underwear but is expected to affect around 12,000 adverts a year on tubes, at train stations and in bus shelters.
“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.”
Hear, hear. The only thing we need to do to get ‘beach body ready’ is to get our bodies (as they are) into our favourite swimsuit or bikini and head for the beach.
Via The Guardian