We as consumers are bombarded on the daily with reminders of what the "ideal" body type should look like, so it's nice when someone stands up and calls BS on such harmful messaging. That's exactly what happened when the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in Britain banned a corset ad for Velform Miniwaist because of its arguably irresponsible message.
According to Mashable, the Velform Miniwaist is a waist compression corset that promises to cinch your waist in, giving you that old Hollywood hourglass shape. Mashable explained, "The Shop Channel aired the teleshopping ad for the Velform Miniwaist — a waist compression garment — which showed various women squeezing their waists, along with footage of the women before and after using the garment." The Shop Channel and Velform have yet to respond to Bustle's request for comment.
Of course, this is all basically exactly what you's expect from a "get skinny quick" gimmick — a rotation of women unhappy with their bodies, all sharing their before and after stories after inviting the product into their lives. But the infomercial is so cringingly body negative that the ASA felt it was in the public's best interest for it to be pulled.
In the first three minutes of the ad, we hear the presenter commenting with soundbites like, "So small, you'll be everybody's envy," and, "Women are supposed to look like this, and men like this," really driving the point home that having a Barbie-sized waist is apparently the only way to be happy.
Afterwards, a series of different women share their experiences, where they look back at their figures of just four weeks ago and show complete disgust and pity over how their bodies used to look. Thankfully, some consumers became alarmed over what the ad was teaching its audience.
According to Mashable, "The ASA investigated the ad following a complaint from a viewer who believed it encouraged unhealthy body perceptions, and considered it to be 'harmful.'"
In its report, the ASA concluded that the ad "was irresponsible to imply that a very small waist should be aspired to and that all women should aim for that figure" and that "the ad encouraged unhealthy body perceptions." While the act of waist training is nothing new in mainstream media, this ad in particular was problematic because of its blatant emphasis on skinny equaling king. With messages like, "Never worry about back rolls again — get the body you want in just one, two, three," a viewer really gets the sense that to have anything slightly outside of an hourglass figure with a small waist is cause for despair.
Such an ad (and arguably a product) doesn't promote a healthy body image or lifestyle (something the UK seems to be all about. Just look at the raging success of the recent This Girl Can national campaign) and narrows down a beauty standard to include only one type of body.
In a time during which body positivity is seeing some major spotlights and people are learning to embrace and love their bodies, it's exciting to see agency and government forces join in the pushback from unhealthy beauty standards and imagery.
And it's quite the message for the viewer at home to hear that an ad like this — something so skewed and negative — can get pulled from television. Let's keep the body positivity going, guys.
Images: Best Direct Online Australia/YouTube