Not everyone is satisfied with Lane Bryant’s #ImNoAngel initiative for its Cacique brand. The plus-size retailer recently launched an underwear campaign featuring models who don’t have the traditional Victoria’s Secret body, which so far has been pretty well-received. It is quite refreshing to see women over a size 4 posing in lingerie, but for one blogger, the campaign simply wasn’t enough.
Amanda Richards penned a post on her blog arguing that Lane Bryant‘s campaign is not the bastion of positivity it seems to be. She says that the #ImNoAngel hashtag pits women of different body types against each other. She also takes issue with the lack of body diversity in the campaign itself, noting that the models are mostly a size 16 (she previously guessed their average sizes was 14) and said that their more petite frames are not representative of the Lane Bryant market, whose women are usually above a size 20.
“I don’t understand why Lane Bryant can’t opt for more diversity in their advertising, given that it’s what plus-size women want and what they have been quite literally begging for on social media,” she wrote before noting that as a white, cisgendered able-bodied woman she definitely has some privileges, but that is no excuse for Lane Bryant’s oversight. She concluded the post by taking photos of her size 18 self in underwear.
HelloGiggles got wind of Richards’ post and wrote about it, resulting in an epic battle on Facebook between Richards and Elly Mayday, one of the campaign’s models. Mayday herself took issue with Richards’ characterization of the ads, first in assuming that the models were an average size 14 (she corrected Richards with their actual sizes) and also argued that she, an ovarian cancer survivor with a larger body and a scar down the center of her stomach, is far from the representation of a traditional model – plus-sized or otherwise. She said that Richards was nitpicking the campaign and that its positive message was being eclipsed by what she believes to be splitting hairs.
Her comment sparked an entire debate on the HelloGiggles Facebook page and late yesterday, Mayday decided to delete her comments. “People are coming onto my page and attacking me and sending me some terrible messages. Thanks, but I don’t deserve these horrible things being said to me,” she wrote. “I am sorry if I offended you by saying I didn’t like the blog. It is just really annoying when something so positive is still thoroughly scrutinized. Can’t please everyone I guess! I am the [epitome] of body positivity and will continue on my endeavours. Good luck to you Amanda on yours.”
While Richards made some good points on body diversity, it does feel a little problematic for her to assert that the models in the campaign simply weren’t big enough or were shaped too nicely to be included. In attempting to make a call for body diversity, some people might read her assertion as body shaming. But she does open up a conversation about modeling – models have their jobs because their bodies fit a certain ideal. Many women don’t have that hourglass shape that some of the models in the Lane Bryant campaign have, and yes, we could all use more body diversity. But to suggest that the women weren’t big enough or “real” enough to be “No Angels” seems a bit problematic.
[via Amanda Kate Richards, Hello Giggles Facebook]