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ashley graham's empowering lingerie ad banned by major us tv networks

Why is Victoria's Secret acceptable but Lane Bryant isn't?

by Hannah Ongley
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11 March 2016, 9:52am

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Size heroes Ashley Graham and Precious Lee have been busy conquering runwaysmagazines, and TED talks, not to mention the internet, with their unapologetic approach to body-confidence. But one place they can't seem to subvert the unfortunate status quo is on major network television. The Lane Bryant lingerie advertisement that the women recently shot for the brand's spring 2016 ad has been now rejected by major television networks ABC and NBC, who deemed the TV spot "indecent" for viewers' eyes. 

The campaign for #ThisBody features Graham and Lee's bodies in various lingerie sets and states of undress, while another model is shown breastfeeding her baby as she says, "This body is made for love." NBC has denied that they "rejected" the empowering visual for any reason other than decency. "As part of the normal advertising standards process, we reviewed a rough cut of the ad and asked for minor edits to comply with broadcast indecency guidelines," NBC said in a statement provided to the Daily News. "The ad was not rejected and we welcome the updated creative." Lane Bryant, however, claimed the ad was outright rejected "as is."

Is this a heavy blow to the body confidence movement? Is advertising still equating "decent" (i.e. slender) women's bodies to mere objects of desire and selling to an audience of millions? ABC has been particularly hungry for Victoria's Secret content, which doesn't appear to show any less skin than Graham and Lee's Lane Bryant commercial. Graham is well aware of this hypocrisy, telling CBS in 2010 — when her last commercial was censored — "Victoria's Secret commercials are airing all throughout the day, but when it comes to a Lane Bryant commercial, we have a little bit of extra, you know, overflowing, and then everybody freaks out."

Further, while television ads featuring half-naked women commonly test the boundaries of "indecency," Graham's latest ad was never meant to head-on tackle size diversity. It's simply "a playful way to engage our women and all women," according to a rep for Lane Bryant. Watch Graham's solo spot for the new campaign below. 

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Text Hannah Ongley
Image via YouTube