If you ask men about their body image, they will tell you they look better than they do. And if you ask a woman, she’ll tell you she looks worse. —Gloria Steinem
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of trying to put on an item of clothing that you’ve worn dozens, if not hundreds of times before, and having it not fit. I’ve had that happen twice in the past month with two separate pair of pants. One popped a button when I sat down and the zipper broke on the other. Sigh. I’ll blame faulty manufacturing for the zipper because there’s no way to prove that it wasn’t, but the button popping is more difficult to excuse. I’ve sat here eating chocolate for a month (because it makes you smarter) and not getting any exercise. So, instead of losing 20 pounds, which is what I need to do, I packed more on. Needless to say, my current body image is not positive. I am not a fan of my current size.
For women, body size and body image is an even more critical issue. In extreme cases, negative body image leads to severe eating disorders and even death. That’s why a number of retailers, including Dove and Lane Bryant, have created ad campaigns around supporting a positive body image, regardless of one’s size. Even Sports Illustrated got in on the act casting curvaceous model Ashley Graham for one of the covers of their famous swimsuit edition. Supporting a positive body image among women is a good thing, and has even proven to be good for business.
So why, then, did two major television networks, ABC and NBC, refuse to air the new Lane Bryant ad featuring Ashley Graham? NBC claims the ad violates “broadcast indecency guidelines.” I’ve searched through the ad meticulously, though, and fail to see how that claim is justified. NBC says they’ll air the ad if edits are made, but Lane Bryant says the ad is just fine the way it is and I tend to agree. In fact, so does pretty much every other broadcast outlet out there. No one else has turned down the ad for any reason.
The two networks can claim the ad is too sexy, but the appearance is that body size seems to be the greater issue than sexuality. Take a look at other ads both networks run and there would seem to be a double standard. Neither network seems to have any difficulty playing dangerously with the censors when the bodies are lean and fit, so why do they have a problem with bodies that have curves, bodies that are real, and bodies slightly larger than the size 2 that dominates most of fashion advertising? Here’s the ad. Take a look for yourself:
I could sit here and harp on the issue all day, but what ultimately matters is how you and I respond. Support those who support a positive body image and size. Censorship, for any reason, is just not acceptable.