• Thu, Nov 10 2011

Ads Featuring Skinny Model Banned In UK, Deemed “Socially Irresponsible”

A promo image featuring the model in question.

Yesterday, we told you about how UK watchdog group the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned a Marc Jacobs fragrance ad starring Dakota Fanning for its obvious riff on Lolita. In the same fell swoop, they also banned the following ads for British fashion label Drop Dead, after showcasing the model’s extreme thinness was deemed “socially irresponsible.” Most of the images floating around don’t feature the “denim shorts” specifically described by the ASA, so we’re betting the offending image is this:

And a better glimpse of the model in question:

The ASA’s assessment:

“The ASA considered that the model was very slim, and noted that in the bikini images her hip, rib and collar bones were highly visible. We also noted that in the bikini and denim shorts images, hollows in her thighs were noticeable and she had prominent thigh bones. We considered that in combination with the stretched out pose and heavy eye makeup, the model looked underweight in the pictures.

We considered that using a noticeably skinny model with visible hip, rib, collar and thigh bones, who wore heavy makeup and was posed in ways that made her body appear thinner, was likely to impress upon that audience that the images were representative of the people who might wear Drop Dead’s clothing, and as being something to aspire to. Therefore, while we considered the bikini and denim short images might not cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded they were socially irresponsible.”

“Socially irresponsible” is a pretty serious charge. However, we see how someone might describe the small image (with the shorts) as “sickly.” If not all of them.

Do you think the ad should be banned? Does banning images like these have genuine benefits? Does the model actually look sick or is this business as usual for fashion? Are these images more or less offensive than Topshop‘s infamous–and also banned–photo of size-0 model Codie Young?

Tell us what you think.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

(via Retail Gazette, HuffPo)

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  • Stella

    Maybe the question isn’t “Does banning images like these have genuine benefits,” but “Does publishing images like this do genuine harm?” My answer would be yes. This girl does not look healthy at all, and to publish photos of her in a bikini or in those shorts is to tell young women that this look is not only okay, but that it is cute and/or sexy. I can’t even concentrate on what she’s wearing, I’m freakin’ out so hard on how scrawny she is.

  • Elizabeth

    I agree that she is way too thin. She is bordering on anorexic and you can see that she is not naturally lithe but that she has dieted to look that thin.

    It disturbs me that I see pictures of Victoria Beckham and think that she looks perfectly normal but then see someone who is a UK size-8/10 and think that they could do with losing some weight! I know that this is not normal and that my view of what is ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ has become warped because we are constantly visually assaulted with super-skinny models.

  • Kj

    You know, this wouldn’t be so bad if there were some normal to large sized people in there are well.

    The point isn’t to exclude one body type or another, but to show diversity. Are there people that are that naturally skinny? Sure. But there are also lots of people that are normal to larger sizes that deserve to see themselves represented as well.

  • Olivia

    I’m sorry to play devil’s advocate, but if it’s socially irresponsible to show pictures of an underweight girl, how is it not socially irresponsible to show pictures of an overweight girl?

    • allie

      It’s probably fair to say that it’s somewhat irresponsible to ever send the message to kids that being unhealthy is okay. However, I think the point is better made by Kj below– it would be most responsible to feature models possessing an array of body types, who all appear to be healthy by the same standards we would use to judge normal people we meet on the street. I don’t find unhealthy people upsetting in principle, but marketing them as healthy– wherever and however it happens– is irresponsible.

      Additionally, I think your question is a great one but I have never, EVER found it relevant to any clothing ad I’ve seen– even the models for plus-size shops usually look within the realm of healthy, keeping in mind that I know both “underweight” and “overweight” people who are healthy (for example, a woman I know who is overweight but also a triathlete.)

  • Venessa

    This is ridiculous. Amanda Hendrick is naturally skinny and she’s a supermodel. Yes she’s skinny but it doesn’t mean she’s unhealthy or anorexic. And yes I do agree with other comments saying if it’s socially irresponsible to show pictures of a skinny girl, how isn’t it socially irresponsible to show overweight women?

    • Jill

      What’s ridiculous is referring to this girl as a supermodel.

  • John D

    The government has absolutely no right to do this. It is disgusting that they think that by banning imagery they are somehow “protecting” the simple people of the UK…

    • caroline

      I think there is ample evidence to suggest that bombarding preteens with images of preternaturally thin women modeling the clothes made for them produces psychological damage and rampant EDNOS. For reference, please see the entire internet.

    • RJP

      The Advertising Standards Authority is an independent agency, that has nothing to do with the UK government.

  • MR

    I already stated my opinion about women who starve themselves to look sexy. Now I realize some women, okay maybe a lot of women, think if they are visually appealing they are going to attract a best male candidates to date them. Truth is she mostly attacts guys who only value her from a totally superficial perspective. If I don’t care about a woman and just want to hook up with her then maybe I can buy into this. I’m happy the poll results came in 4 to 1 for.