london mayor bans body-shaming on the tube to protect young girls

Mayor Khan doesn’t want his teenage daughters to be shamed by Protein World.

by Blair Cannon
13 June 2016, 7:05pm

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced today that he will take action on a pledge he made during his election campaign to ban unhealthy, body-shaming advertisements. Khan, who was elected just last month, will not allow Transport for London's network to display any ads that "are likely to cause pressure to conform to an unrealistic or unhealthy body shape" or that are "likely to create body confidence issues, particularly among young people," according to a statement released this morning.

"As the father of two teenage girls," Khan says he is personally invested in this ban, declaring, "I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end." This comment in particular, seems to reference the yellow Protein World tube ad that garnered attention and anger last spring, resulting in a petition of 70,000 signatures for its removal. The ad, which featured a toned model in a bikini, inquired, "Are you beach body ready?" Protests ensued in response to the notion that only some or certain bodies are "beach bodies."

Mayor Khan wishes to eliminate this kind of triggering or upsetting material from public spaces. "Nobody should feel pressurized, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies," he says. "I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this."

TfL's Commerical Development Director, Graeme Craig, notes that advertising on the tube and other transport networks is "unlike TV, online, and print media" as passengers "cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them." Craig adds, "We have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment." A metropolitan area where cosmetic and fashion ads featuring unrealistic beauty standards are not plastered across every wall, beam, and pillar is almost difficult to imagine, but it seems we are one step closer to a more inclusive and less abrasive advertising industry. 


Text Blair Cannon

Body Shaming
Sadiq Khan
Protein World