A 30-second Lane Bryant ad for their spring 2016 “This Body” campaign was rejected by major networks like NBC and ABC for “indecency.“ The ad features several plus-size models kickboxing, rocking denim, posing nude, and affirming what their bodies can do. “This body is made for love,” one model says while breastfeeding. “This body is made for proving them wrong,” says model Precious Lee. “It’s made for being bold, powerful, and sexy,” says Sports Illustrated cover girl Ashley Graham. It’s a holistic, celebratory ad, portraying women in love with themselves and their bodies. Of course they didn’t let us have this one. God forbid we air anything that’s actually body-positive, right?
A representative from NBC claims the ad was rejected “as part of the normal advertising standards process” in order to “comply with broadcast indecency guidelines,” but it’s hard to believe that no bias was involved in the rejection. The ad features no more bare skin than your run-of-the-mill Victoria’s Secret commercial. Graham herself made this point in 2010, the last time a commercial of hers was rejected, telling CBS: “Victoria’s Secret commercials are airing all throughout the day, but when it comes to a Lane Bryant commercial, we have a little bit of extra, you know, overflowing, and then everybody freaks out.”
There’s a lot hiding behind that insidious term “indecency.“ Sexuality runs rampant in advertising; networks have no qualms about running lingerie ads in general. The thing they actually find “indecent” (read: threatening) is an ad showing women celebrating their selves and their sizes, even when those sizes aren’t the size zero we’ve all been told to aspire to.”
This great photo is from a campaign launched by Jes Baker (The Militant Baker), in response to the Lane Bryant “I’m No Angel” campaign. The Lane Bryant campaign featured plus size models, and was itself an answer to the limited diversity in Victoria’s Secret advertisements. However, the campaign lacked true diversity, as it featured primarily caucasian models with the typical curvy plus size model body type.
Baker’s “Empower All Bodies” campaign ups the ante by including models with a greater diversity of bodies, as you can see in the awesome image above.