Other cities should follow London’s lead in banning body-shaming ads

It’s a victory for both men and women

Sadiq Khan announced yesterday that he is working to ban adverts that promote unrealistic expectations surrounding body image from London’s transport.

We’ve all experienced the adverts in question. From clothes brands to perfume ads. The adverts that elicit insecurities and doubt over whether your body is “normal.” It’s important to recognise and celebrate this incredible move by Khan for London, an act that aims to promote wellbeing and confidence and one that condemns images that evoke insecurities from the public.

In a statement, Khan said: “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. It is high time it came to an end.”

The notorious Protein World campaign in 2015 that pervaded stations across the city and gained a petition of over 70,000 signatures to be removed from London Underground. The brash advert however was not banned from the Advertising Standards Authority despite more than 200 complaints.

Last year, the public’s appalled reaction to the Protein World ad confirmed what society truly wants – real bodies. Not photoshopped, not stretched, not enhanced – but accurate representations of male and female forms.

The Mayor’s move on banning body shaming adverts is a prime example refusing to let superficial advertising dictate society’s expectations. Instead Khan is showing corporate moguls that making money of the public’s insecurities is not something that should be condoned and is something Londoners will not stand for.

Match.com’s advert also caused a lot of controversy

Much of the press have chosen to cover why this is an incredible move from a female perspective, but it’s important to recognise this is a fundamental step for society regardless of gender. Body image is an issue faced by both men and women across the country.

Khan’s positive step for London will send an important message to the future generations, both male and female, growing up in the city. A message emphasising that having cellulite, stretch marks, freckles, moles, uneven skin or being above a size 12 should not elicit self doubt.  Every body type and every individual should be celebrated.

Yesterday represented a progressive step for UK’s capital city. It’s now time for other cities and areas across the country to take a stand against body shaming adverts. We should as a country unite against these companies that make a profit from preying on society’s insecurities and, like Sadiq Khan, show them it’s something we refuse to stand for.