Friday, March 25, 2016

#thisbody has a mind of its' own

Lane Bryant once again is all over my Facebook feed thanks to a recently banned from TV advertisement. The #thisbody commercial features models Ashley Graham, Precious Lee, Tara Lynn, Denise Bidot, and Georgia Pratt. The models are shown in a variety of activities, most of them involving little to no clothes, but ranging from kickboxing to breastfeeding.

Just like their prior #imnoangel campaign for Cacique and their #plusisequal campaign, the #thisbody campaign encourages a social media takeover. Lane Bryant once again created merchandise specific to their campaign and a website along with the hashtag. They have their “manifesto” posted on the website which starts “This is my body. I live in it. Love in it. Work it all the way. This body is all me. Every curve, every roll, every inch. This body is with me every day.”

The brand’s CEO and president, Linda Heasley has said, “Our goal is shift the perception from Lane Bryant as a store for plus-size clothing, to Lane Bryant as an inspiring brand for empowered, beautiful, and confident women.”

As a plus size woman, I don’t need a store to help my empowerment. I don’t need a store to make me feel beautiful. I don’t need a store to tell me it’s okay to be confident even though I’m fat.

I need a store where I feel confident shopping. I need a store where I can find affordable well made comfortable clothes. I need a store that will provide the opportunity for me to spend less than $35 for a t-shirt. I need a store that knows what the typical office employee handbook allows you to wear to work and doesn’t just design shirts that need a cardigan over them. I need a store that caters to young women who can’t afford $50 shorts, but are too big for the “teen” plus size lines at Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe. I need a store that wants to be a store for plus-size clothing because there’s just not that many options out there.

This Body is just another brand campaign. This is a multimillion dollar company jumping on the body positivity train to make themselves seem more relatable. I am not against normalizing plus size bodies. I am a huge supporter of the body positivity movement, but for a brand to take on this battle cry as their own is something different. For a brand as large as Lane Bryant to take on this movement as an “important” part of their company, they should be doing more. 

All five models featured in the banned commercial are between 5’9” and 5’11” and wear sizes 14-16. The models on their website show the same size trends as well as the models featured in their previous hashtag campaigns. However, when shopping at Lane Bryant, you can find sizes from 14 (0X) to 36 (5X). So, just like every other clothing brand out there Lane Bryant is putting their slimmest foot forward. For a brand promoting body positivity, why would you not want to make all of your shoppers feel represented?

Lane Bryant is just doing what all advertising has ever done: make people feel like their worth is dependent on a product. They’re not making their clothes any more affordable or accessible; they’re hijacking our bopo message to bring a feeling of community and brand loyalty. Looking toward a clothing company to help empower us is not the way to self love; it never has been and it never will be. Lane Bryant doesn’t need to help plus sized women be normalized for straight sized bodies. Lane Bryant has always been a plus sized company. Their loyalty should be to us – to making plus sized women feel comfortable in their store and in their clothes, not in making everyone else think we’re allowed to exist.


Until Next Time,
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