Three summers ago, Protein World caused uproar with a woefully misguided advert showing a slim, bikini-clad woman next to the question: "Are you beach body ready?" The advert didn't just objectify women; it also perpetuated the myth that swimwear is only acceptable on a certain type of slim female body. After receiving more than 360 complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) duly banned the advert from London Underground.
Now the "beach body ready" slogan is being reclaimed, brilliantly, by a plus-size fashion brand. Navabi's new billboard, which goes on display in London today, deliberately mimics the font and colour palette of Protein World's original, but features three plus-size models proudly rocking swimwear.
The models in the campaign are the brand's social editor Bethany Rutter, blogger and brand consultant Stephanie Yeboah (aka NerdAboutTown), and fashion brand manager Lauren Talulah Smeets (aka Curvy Roamer).
"The original Protein World campaign was exclusionary and pushed the ideology that in order to be 'seen' on the beach, you had to lose weight and conform to society’s standards of beauty first," Yeboah says.
"The truth is that every body is a beach body and that is why I’m so happy to be a part of this Navabi campaign. It’s important for everyone to know that our bodies are fine as is, and that we don’t need to conform in order to be seen as desirable, or beautiful."
Smeets adds: "As a 28-year-old woman with a social media presence and voice, it’s my job to make sure young girls or other women don’t feel pressured to look the way we’ve been conditioned to believe is 'the perfect body'. Every woman is different, every body is different and we need to champion that."
The campaign is already prompting positive reactions online. "I love this. Makes me feel so much less anxious about my own 'flaws'," one person tweeted.
"You all look incredible! I absolutely love this shot. The exuberance, the joy, the beauty," another wrote.
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