Carly Lane
April 26, 2015 6:00 am

With warmer weather comes the inevitable ads pressuring us to get “beach” ready. Unfortunately, those ads tend to send damaging messages about our bodies—and foster unrealistic standards of beauty many women are tired of enduring. One such ad, for a company called Protein World, has sparked particular outrage in the UK this past week.

With its caption “Are You Bikini Body Ready?” the ad’s been accused of promoting a sexist, body-shaming message. The suggestion that the model’s body is the ONLY body fit for the beach has sparked tremendous backlash, petitions and even vandalization.

Spurred on by her own frustrations over the poster—which she passed everyday on the way to work—feminist blogger Catstello decided to make her own body positive statement in response to the ad. Along with her friend Fiona, the two chose to protest the poster by putting their real-life bikini bodies on display — right in front of the very problematic advertisement.

“We wanted to communicate our point in a way that was attention grabbing, but still relatable to the advert we were criticizing,” Catstello told Hello Giggles. “As there is a woman in a bikini on billboards, what better way to challenge its very premise by standing next to it in our bikinis declaring ourselves already beach body ready.”

Overall, it was a very positive experience. According to her post on her site Zusterchap, there were initial concerns that they might receive negative attention — especially from male passersby. But several people were supportive, and one woman even took several photos of the two of them while cheering them on!

Companies like this are perpetuating the myth that everyone’s beach body should look the same. Not only is it wrong, but it’s also unrealistic. The human body comes in all different shapes and sizes, and it’s up to us to counter the problematic messaging that these advertisements can send. We love that Catstello and Fiona took a positive approach to a negative situation, and we’re even more psyched that their message of empowerment was well-received.

We’re definitely in admiration of these two women for standing up to combat corporate pressure to look “perfect.” For the record, we think these ladies are perfect exactly as they are. Ladies, we salute you!

[Image c/o Tara Costello and via]

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