I am all for the body positive movement. I believe health and beauty come in a variety of shapes and size. I want everyone to feel comfortable in their skin regardless of weight. And while I believe all this to be true I also believe ads that focus on women’s bodies of any size are missing the point and harmful.
Yes it’s exciting to see more diversity with body types in advertising, movies, etc., but the truth is we are still landing in the same place…it’s all about our bodies. And what’s worse is our body-focused culture is creating a divide amongst women and it’s keeping us down.
It’s the plus size Lane Bryant #ImNoAngel versus the thin Victoria Secret #Angel. It’s the “real women have curves” versus “real women have muscles’. It’s the “post baby body” versus “the no kids woman body” versus “the mom body after plastic surgery”.
Ladies they are pitting us against each other. Who is sexier? Who is more desirable? We just continue to be objects of desire competing for attention, validation, and acceptance. Advertising might be selling a product to men, but for us women they are selling us.
From lingerie, to clothing, to fitness, to cosmetics and everything in-between, we are told that we aren’t good enough how we are and we must find ways to fix our physical flaws in order to be more desirable. They sell to our insecurities and our fears. We aren’t sold products based on quality, we are sold products based on how they will help us sell ourselves to men, be more desirable than other women and become the perfect object.
We don't need the advertisers telling us our body is acceptable or what is sexy, we need them to tell us the quality, craftsmanship and value of the products they are selling us. And though we might not be able to change how it's done, we can make some changes in how we deal with it.
1. We have to stop buying into the BS.
2. We must realize we are a customer and deserve to learn the quality of the products we purchase.
3. We must stop competing with each other and embrace each other’s differences.
4. We must start looking within and realizing our intrinsic value.
5. We have to stop judging ourselves and each other.
6. We must start new conversations about health, life, our needs, being our best and what we stand for.
7. We need to connect with each other and ourselves.
8. We must remember we are smarter than advertisers give us credit for.
9. We have to advocate for ourselves.
10. We must shift our focus away from our bodies and towards our health and lives.
“True equality and healthy body images will only arrive when we reposition the female consumer so that she is no longer treated as a product but instead simply regarded as a respected customer.” (From Why Plus-Size Ads for Women Keep Getting It Wrong)