So April has been a fairly interesting month for those of you interested in body image in the media. One particular advertisement really got my blood boiling, so much so I am now writing this blog post when I should be writing a 4000 word essay on Virginia Woolf for Uni (naughty). However I'm sure Virginia, being the legendary feminist she was, would totally understand...
Okay so the advertisement by "Protein World" was placed in underground stations across London. The image shows a woman in a bikini asking:
"ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?"
Now it's not just me that has been outraged by this advertisement, there has been a number of protests and there are more in the pipeline, all with the aim to get these ads taken down. A lot of these protesters are claiming that this particular model and these advertisements as a whole promote an unrealistic and "unhealthy body image" (Guardian). However I think that's a bit extreme because for me personally it borders on "skinny shaming". I don't think we should shame any woman's body, even the model in this advert. She is a beautiful woman and I honestly think no less of her than I would of a "plus-size" model.
I think these ads should be taken down because it's putting the message out there that only this particular body type is acceptable for all women. It also presents women with the ridiculous notion that you have to look exactly like this to go to the beach... For the record, anyone of any shape or size can go to the beach and wear a bikini. Just sayin'.
Below are some gems I found on the internet of people opposing this advert.
The next image is my absolute favourite. Two young female bloggers, Fiona Longmuir and Tara Costello, felt so strongly about this image they stripped down to their bikinis in the middle of a London tube station.
All I can possibly say is well done ladies, you are truly inspirational.
Yes, these girls' bodies are different from the model but their bodies are also different from each other. That is the exact point. No two women are the same and that is something to celebrate.
If you've been following my blog posts you'll know I have always been honest about how much my mindset has changed regarding body image over the years: When I was a 16 year old girl I probably would have seen this image and viewed it as "Thinspo" or inspiration to "get skinny". I now sit here typing this article as a 22 year old woman that truly loves her body. We all have off days and little moments of insecurity because that is human nature, but 99% of the time I love my body; I love my body in a dress, in a bikini and shock horror, I love my naked body. I don't say that because I'm arrogant, big headed or whatever you want to call it, I say it because I made the decision a few years ago that I would not spend my entire existence hating the beautiful and incredible machine that will carry me through all my life.
Going forward, I really hope these ads gets taken down, but sadly I don't think it is the last body shaming media campaign I will ever write about.
With that said, here's my advice on how to get beach body ready:
Put a bikini on your body and go to the beach. Simples.