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London Mayor says 'No' to unhealthy body images

By Vivian Hendriksz


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London - Sadiq Khan, the newly elected Mayor of London, has announced a new partnership with the city's public transport network, Transport for London (TfL) which will put an end to adverts that may cause body confidence issues.

Taking action on his pledge the ban all unhealthy body image ads across the TfL network, the new initiative will see any advertisements which may make people feel ashamed of their bodies, or pressure them to look a certain way will be banned from public transport areas in London from next month onwards.

Sadiq Khan cracks down on negative body image in ads

This includes ads which could "reasonably be seen as likely to cause pressure to conform to an unrealistic or unhealthy body shape, or as likely to create body confidence issues, particularly among young people," according to a statement from the Mayors Office.

The Mayor has asked TfL to set up an Advertising Steering Group together with its advertising partners JCDecaux and Exterion and stakeholders to monitor the network's approach to advertising and reflect London's diversity. "As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies," said Khan in a statement. "It is high time it came to an end."

“Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this."

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

The move against unhealthy body images comes a year after various advertisements, including the "Beach Body Ready" ad from Protein World, led to a huge backlash against the TfL. "Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this," added the Mayor.

TfL's advertising estate is the most valuable in the world, and includes advertising space on the Tube, Overground, DLR, Trams, Bus shelters, Buses and Victoria coach Station. During the next eight and half years it is expected to generate over 1,5 billion pounds in revenue, which will be reinvested in the transport network. "Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media," said Graeme Craig, TfL Commercial Development Director.

"Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment. We want to encourage great advertising that engages people and enhances the transport network.”

Unfortunately, the fashion industry continues to struggle with its depiction of healthy and unhealthy body image. Over the years numerous high end and mass market fashion brands, including YSL, Miu Miu, Urban Outfitters and Primark have been called out the UK's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), for using models which are likely to promote an unhealthy body image or looked unhealthily thin, whilst stories of models being told to lose weight by agencies or brands and/or developing eating orders are abundant in the industry.

In France a bill was passed late last year which banned fashion labels and agencies from using models deemed "excessively thin" and stated that all models must have a note from their doctors stating they are fit to work. The bill also states that any digitally altered images, in which a model silhouette or form has been made thinner or wider needs to carry a label stating so. Other countries including Italy, Spain and Israle have also introduce similar policies aiming to prevent models with an unhealthy body from working in the industry and last year a British MP called for a similar policy to be introduced in the UK.

Photos: Protein World, Facebook

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unhealthy body image