STYLE

‘Body-Shaming’ Ads Banned From London's Public Transportation

Wouldn't it be great if this idea spread?

15/06/2016 1:59 AM AEST | Updated 15/06/2016 1:59 AM AEST
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Ads that create body confidence issues will be banned from London Underground, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced Monday.

Starting next month, Transport for London will not permit ads that promote an unrealistic or unhealthy body image, particularly among young people.

Khan, who has two two teenage daughters, said he is worried about ads that can cause women to be “ashamed of their bodies,” saying, "it is high time it came to an end."

“Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this,” he said in a statement.

The move follows a controversial ‘Are You Beach Body Ready?’ ad campaign, which caused widespread outrage from body positive advocates in the U.K. last year.

 
Catherine Wylie/PA Archive

The ads were promptly defaced on London’s Underground by campaigners arguing that all bodies are beach body ready, and a Change.org petition calling for the ads to be removed received more than 70,000 signatures.

Later in the year, the country's Advertising Standards Authority deemed the posters “not offensive.”

The new advertising policy, which comes in response to customer feedback, will be upheld by an appointed steering group who will regularly review campaigns. Graeme Craig, TfL's commercial development director, explained how ads on public transportation differ than those on TV, online and in print.

"Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them, and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment. We want to encourage great advertising that engages people and enhances the transport network,” he said. 

Here's hoping that attitude makes its way around the world, too. 

A version of this article originally appeared on HuffPost UK.

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