Body-Shaming Ads Banned in London Public Transportation

August 14, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. adverse /ædˈvɜrs/ (adj.) – having an unfavorable opinion   
Example: Viewers expressed adverse opinions after seeing the offensive TV commercial.

2. cease /sis/ (v.) – to discontinue
Example: Advertisements featuring sensitive topics ceased airing.

3. degrade /dɪˈgreɪd/ (v.) – to treat someone without respect
Example:  The media degraded the celebrity using baseless rumors.

4. norm /nɔrm/ (n.) – a standard or model
Example: Society normally sets the norms of beauty.

5. live up to /lɪv ʌp tu/ (idiom) – to meet an expectation
Example: I’m worried that my body type won’t live up to the society’s standards.


Read the text below.
London mayor Sadiq Khan is pushing for the removal of advertisements featuring unattainable body standards.

Khan expressed concern over the impact of these ads on an individual’s self-esteem after weight loss beverage Protein World’s “beach body ready” ad elicited adverse reactions from the public. The ads were displayed in the city’s transport networks, such as subway stations and bus stops. While the Advertising Standards Authority did not implement a ban, a petition against the ad garnered 70,000 signatures on the website

Khan urged Transport for London to cease the placement of body-shaming ads in transport networks. He argued that exposure to such ads could degrade an individual’s self-esteem by imposing unrealistic norms of physical attractiveness.

Editor-in-chief Sian Rees of UK-based magazine REAL claims that women feel the need to live up to beauty standards that celebrities uphold. Results of the magazine’s survey among five thousand female respondents reveal that only three percent of British women are satisfied with their bodies, while seventy-three percent obsess over their figures daily. Also, sixty-five percent expressed that being content with their body would make their lives better.

Khan’s initiative to rule out destructive advertising has encouraged Copenhagen health deputy mayor Ninna Thomsen to consider adopting the same measure. Thomsen emphasizes the importance of presenting diverse shapes and sizes in a fashion industry that glorifies being thin.

Addressing a similar issue, plus-size model Denise Bidot gathered ten women of different age groups, sizes, and ethnicities for a campaign called “There is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman.” The said campaign inspires women to embrace their individuality regardless of race and body type.  

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were the mayor, would you also ban such advertisements in public transportations? Why or why not?
·         What other measures would you propose to promote positive body image?

Discussion B

·         In what ways can advertising influence individuals?
·         Aside from body types, what else should advertisers consider when creating ads? 

August 14, 2016