I had a really illuminating and helpful chat with The Committee of Advertising Practice last week and guess what? It's already happening, the issue of body image is already under review under an umbrella review of gender stereotypes in advertising. It will be released in May/June of this year for public consultation and you bet I'll be commenting on it.
Talking with their office, they were pretty dismissive of my concerns, saying that the status quo is very unlikely to change through their input. It never has - except of course in the case of tobacco advertising.
So what was different in the case of tobacco ads? It turns out that it was a combination of evidence to prove that smoking causes harm (cancer) as well as statistics for what they called the "economic burden" - i.e. the cost of smoking to the NHS and the loss of productivity in the workplace. The tipping point came when it was asserted that there was "no safe way to smoke" ergo "it's unacceptable to advertise tobacco".
I asked if these kinds of statistics had been sought out to address the issue of body image - a concern that they "hear a lot". The answer was "No". So when we're asked to comment on the findings of the review I might drop in...
I can't stress enough how the time is right. More than right. If we miss this opportunity who can say when it will come around. Imagine if these findings come with the support of hundreds, thousands, millions(!) of signatures to support it.
If you, in your heart believe that the lack of diverse body images in branding, has had a role to play on your self-esteem, your body pride, your ability to feel good in your skin, please support this campaign. We can do this, have it in the bag right now, not ten, twenty, a hundred years' time. Things can change now! I've heard so many times "It'll never change". It will. It already is! Sign the petition but more importantly, share it, support it, get it out there. Let's do it!