Monday, April 26, 2010

Banned for being too big? - Lingerie ad heats up the controversy on body type

The blogosphere has been heating up this week with the controversy surrounding the new Cacique lingerie ad by Lane Bryant. The ad features plus-size model Ashley Graham walking through her apartment in various styles of lingerie offered by the company. Lane Bryant (LB) wanted the ad to air during the 8:00pm time slots while Dancing with the Stars and American Idol are aired. But their plans were quickly halted when both ABC and FOX networks initially refused to do so stating that “the Lane Bryant ad was too salacious for "family hour," a.k.a 8:00-9:00 pm” LB feels that this smacks of a double standard since according to them, Victoria’s Secret’s ad are running during that very same time-slot, a claim that FOX says is not true. According to Lane Bryant “ABC refused to show the commercial during “Dancing with the Stars” without restricting our airtime to the final moments of the show. Fox demanded excessive re-edits and rebuffed it three times before relenting to air it during the final 10 minutes of “American Idol,” but only after we threatened to pull the ad buy.” FOX has since relented and agreed to air the commercial during the last 10 minutes of Idol.

Both ABC and FOX feel that LB’s efforts are more for publicity than anything else and that there is no double-standard. But the damage has been done, the issue has taken center stage and the question has been asked of the public: “Is there a double standard in the industry when it comes to body size? Is it okay for smaller sized women to be viewed during “family hours” and not okay for larger women according to media standards to be shown?” The networks argued that it was the cleavage factor, on FOX’s Bill O’Reilly’s show, his Culture Warriors weighed in citing that with a larger woman you going to get more cleavage, if you have more you get more. Hmm… I beg to differ as that’s only part of the story considering the fact that a quick scan of television shows, magazine ads and commercials reveal in significant numbers women who are smaller in body size but whose cleavages have been enhanced either surgically or with the help of cleavage producing lingerie. Sorry Culture Warriors, but that statement is very weak.

This reminds me of the DOVE campaign a few years back that featured average sized women in their underwear encouraging women to accept themselves, and to love themselves for who they are underneath it all. Many felt that the ads were inappropriate and showed too much. My question then and now is “too much what?” Drawing the comparison then to the Victoria’s Secret’s ads I asked, so why is it okay for them and not okay for DOVE? What’s the difference? The truth, there was no difference other than the size of the women used in these ads. The ads with the larger women, garnered disdain, while the ad with the smaller sized women garnered admiration and acceptance. The interesting thing about this is that the women in the DOVE ad, just as the model in the Lane Bryant ad are curvaceous and healthy; their body types represent the average sized women, but yet by media standards they are “fat” and not “fit” for ads promoting swimwear or lingerie and consequently, are definitely not the ideal candidates for demonstrating to society what is truly ideal which is, recognition and acceptance that body types vary and the body in all of its forms are beautiful.

Lane Bryant Commercial:

Victoria's Secret "The Nakeds" Commercial:

Read the full article for more info:

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