We are constantly bombarded by advertisements. As women we are the target of advertisements that often seek to persuade us to choose the services or products that will make us the most desirable. For some time now, very thin, toned models have been the aspiration of so many young women. These “ideals” frequently serve to plague young girls and women with body image issues. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, research indicates that media has a powerful effect on women’s satisfaction with their bodies. But a few brands are stepping up and challenging the narrow view of what it means to be beautiful.
It is definitely a topic that resonates with the women of HealthComU. Three different posts over the past year have focused on fat shaming and the Indian culture, having a positive body image, and #DearMe in honor of International Women’s Day. This past week, the spotlight has been on two companies challenging today’s standard of beauty; Dove (stay tuned in the coming weeks for Lisa’s post) and Lane Bryant.
Since 2013 Lane Bryant CEO Linda Heasley has been upfront with her mission to “change the conversation” about plus-size fashion. Last week, Lane Bryant released a new ad campaign, with the accompanying unique social media hashtag, #ImNoAngel—-a clear jab aimed at lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret and the Victoria’s Secret Angel image that long has garnered so much attention.
The tactic seems to have worked for Heasley. Right away, social media enthusiasts have already taken to the Twittersphere commending the brand for challenging conventional beauty standards. It is definitely another step in the right direction, a direction that other companies are going, and many of them, too, are leveraging social media to make waves related to beauty ideals.
In 2014, Victoria’s Secret launched a campaign with many of their big-name models with the tagline, “Perfect Body.” Although the brand has always had a loyal following, others saw the need to step up and speak out against the campaign. What began as a small group of female students speaking up on Change.org, soon turned into a collection of 33,001 signatures petitioning against Victoria’s Secret latest slogan and countless other women using the hashtag #iamperfect as a way to express their concerns over Victoria’s Secret’s advertising campaign. The effort was recognized by Victoria’s Secret, and the tagline was replaced with “a body for every body.”
Author Ajay Rochester, meanwhile, raised her “voice” in support of redefined definitions of beauty with the social media hashtag, #droptheplus. Tess Munster also created a following with the hashtag, #Effyourbeautystandards.
I wouldn’t go as far to say that the world is turning away from Victoria’s Secret, but perhaps our daughters (mine included) will grow up with a broader spectrum of beauty. Maybe this next generation of women will grow up not feeling that the mold is too narrow to fit in to because women before them were willing to speak up. And maybe, despite all of the frustrating aspects that come along with pervasive handheld technology, social media will be used for good to make it possible for those voices to be heard and to be validated by companies.