What we can learn from this awesome body-positive ad
If you’re a human female living on planet Earth you’ve probably noticed the many many ads that make people with vaginas feel crummy about their bodies, as if the intention is not to sell sunblock or shoes or yogurt that makes you poop. but instead to make you look at yourself and say “not OK.” That’s why it’s always cause for celebration (elation, glee!) when we stumble upon advertising that’s designed to make women feel actually awesome about themselves and their appearance.
News.com.au reports that the Australian activewear brand The Upside has launched an inspiring new body-positive campaign called the “Be You” initiative, in which the label encourages women to “be at home in their own skin.”
The campaign features non-models and non-traditional models alike, including (from left to right) stylist Pip Edwards, plus-size model Laura Wells, David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes, Ironwoman Courtney Hancock, and ballet dancer Vivienne Wong. (side note: you KNOW we at HelloGiggles love when accomplished real-life women model it up—Joan Didion, we’re scouring eBay for Celine stuff like mad now, and it’s totally all your fault, you brilliant writer you.)
In The Upside commercial, all of these women talk touchingly about their path to self-acceptance and self-love and give inspiring advice on how all of us can get there: “Loving yourself is like a discipline,” says ballerina Vivienne Wong, “is something you have to practice.”
Another woman featured in the ad, Laura Wells, is a size 14 model (“I am between 3-6 sizes larger than a normal, industry standard model”) who understands why she is labeled “plus-size” but does not relate to the label:
Even though Wells is thrilled with this campaign, she’s doesn’t love that celebrating an average body is so rare that it has to be treated like a big deal when it happens:
“[The campaign] is very daring, but at the same time, it’s something that should be seen as normal. The fact that we have to celebrate is a bit sad,” she told News.com.au.
Look, at the end of the day, this is an ad campaign, and it’s definitely using body positivity to sell clothes because, you know, that’s what advertising IS. That said, if someone’s going to try to sell me something, I’d MUCH rather they do it by making me feel awesome about my body and inspired by what women around the world are achieving and you know, just remind me what a great thing it is to be a girl alive in modern times. If ads are going to manipulate me (and ALL ads are trying to manipulate me, that’s just Marketing 101) I’d rather be manipulated by being made to feel great about my body rather than terrible about the way I look. Which is to say, more ads like The Upside please.