Gina Vaynshteyn
April 06, 2015 3:53 pm

The last time we heard from Lane Bryant, CEO Linda Heasley was talking about retiring the term “plus size” forever. Not wanting the brand’s clientele to feel stigmatized or connected to a label that makes them feel uncomfortable, Lane Bryant instead pushed for “her size,” a label that focuses less on the type of size and shows more respect for each individual body.

Well, Lane Bryant is back in the spotlight again, and for another very important reason. The “her size” clothing company just launched their new lingerie line, “Cacique,” and it’s directly challenging Victoria’s Secret’s problematic “Perfect Body” campaign (which solely featured tall, thin women). Using the hashtag #ImNoAngel, Lane Bryant illustrates that every kind of body is the perfect body, that all women should feel beautiful in their skin. #ImNoAngel is not merely a campaign —it’s intended to be a powerful movement that reminds us to challenge conventional beauty standards and celebrate women of all sizes.

#ImNoAngel also brings attention to the fact that there is just not enough body diversity in the media, and by creating such an explosive, engaging campaign, Lane Bryant is providing a voice for the women who feel underrepresented, or not represented at all. The #ImNoAngel ad campaign is encouraging women to post their own experiences and #ImNoAngel photos, creating a much-needed conversation about positive body image and learning how to embrace and love one’s natural self. Here are some awesome, inspirational submissions posted to their Tumblr.

In regards to the new campaign, CEO Linda Heasley stated, “[The] #ImNoAngel campaign is designed to empower ALL women to love every party of herself. Lane Bryant firmly believes that she is sexy and we want to encourage her to confidently show it in her own way.”

We’re not the only ones totally on board with this. Countless people have already spoken out, praising Lane Bryant for their gutsy moves.

Obviously, social media is engaged in the movement, and that’s a powerful thing. This campaign’s viral success isn’t just sending a body positivity message to women, it’s sending a memo to fellow brands: diversity sells. And that’s a bottom line we can get behind.

“This is exactly what all companies, not just lingerie companies, should be doing for women,”The Gloss’ Sara Steinfeld wrote. “We should all be empowering each other to dress for ourselves and love the way we look, not try to conform to some idealistic and impossible standard.”

But #ImNoAngel isn’t immune to criticism. Some are claiming Lane Bryant is thin-shaming, and tearing down Victoria’s Secret models for their size in the process. But Bryant’s execs suggest the campaign is more of a cheeky jab, rather than anything too serious. To those who slammed the company for “throwing shade” at Victoria’s Secret, Lane Bryant responded with this succinct tweet: “We aren’t throwing shade, we’re throwing curves!”

On the other end of the critical spectrum, at least one writer, Bustle’s Jodie Layne, feels the campaign isn’t diverse enough—and that not all body types are represented. “I cannot help but feel underwhelmed that the ad featured five models of similar heights and proportions,” Layne writes. “Even in the body positivity movement, there’s still body shaming paired with coveted proportions or a ‘right’ way to have curves. If a brand is saying all bodies are beautiful and all bodies are sexy, then that needs to mean all bodies. Period.”

Still, the campaign is a step in the right direction for lingerie brands. We’re happy to see trailblazing models like Ashley Graham, and cancer survivor Elly Mayday representing women that fit a different size requirement than we’re used to seeing. It’s true that all women are beautiful, and we need to keep expanding the definition of what’s attractive to include more diversity. But with the largely enthusiastic response to this campaign, we’re headed in the right direction. Women are clearly ready for more representation, and there’s no question brands are starting paying attention. And that’s a good thing.

(Images via Twitter, Lane Bryant)

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