We praised London’s mayor when he announced a ban on ads showing “unhealthy and unrealistic body images” on the city’s trains and buses. But a recent essay in The New York Times has us rethinking our support. The writer, Vanessa Freidman, reminds us that body positivity is about empowering people, not policing and judging their bodies:
To ban an ad depicting a specific body type is to demonize that type, labeling it publicly as bad. It also suggests that it is even possible to look at a woman, or a photo of a woman, and know whether she is healthy or unhealthy. That’s a misguided idea, as Claire Mysko, chief executive of the National Eating Disorders Association, acknowledges: One individual can have a seemingly normal body mass index and still have a tortured relationship with food and her physical self; another can look almost bony, and be fine. You can’t tell from the outside.