I have to hand it to companies: They do try. From Dove to Special K, all kinds of companies are busy trying to show us how they embrace and celebrate all kinds of people – whether we are fat, thin, freckled, frizzy haired, or what have you. Of course, they don’t really want us to accept ourselves as we are, because then how would they make money? But I admit, it’s a start.
Another trick companies use to convince us to like them is showing us how they are the opposite of another company whose slogans and images irritate us. Take, for example, the new Lane Bryant “I’m No Angel” campaign.
This ad remind us of the Victoria’s Secret Angels, a club that is exclusive to very thin, beautiful, busty women (representing a very small percentage of bodies) and shows us that the Lane Bryant club is different. Where Victoria’s Secret is exclusive, Lane Bryant’s lingerie line, Cacique, is inclusive. Sort of.
These women, these not-angels, are not thin, but they are beautiful, and they are busty. They are pretty much thicker versions of the VS Angels, which means that they too represent a very small percentage of bodies (although this time, bigger ones). Which means that the #ImNoAngel campaign excludes me, just as all Victoria’s Secret campaigns exclude me. I don’t have a flat-ish stomach or small arms. I’m not proportionate like these women; I don’t have a big chest that would turn my pear shape (or whatever fruit I am) into an hourglass, that would allow me to comfortably call myself “curvy” in the sense that most people mean it. Lane Bryant doesn’t even come close to selling my bra size.
Okay, I know, it sounds like I’m never satisfied, right? I should be happy with this progress. And I am! Really, I am. I’m glad to see non-thin women prancing around in their undapants. But that doesn’t mean I can’t (or shouldn’t) want even more body diversity. More! I am unapologetic about wanting more. How does #IWantMore sound?
I want to see women who aren’t hourglass proportionate, who don’t have flat(ish) stomachs, who have floppy arms and jiggly thighs and stomach rolls and stretch marks and scars, who have short hair and no hair, who have small breasts and no breasts and mismatched breasts. The more we see bodies that look like ours, the more easily we will learn to accept – and maybe love – what we’ve got. Let’s see someone turn that into an ad campaign!