Mind the (Thigh) Gap
Just over two months into his time as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has taken a drastic stance on so-called body-shaming adverts, banning them from being displayed on the London Underground. This comes after last year’s controversy over the Protein World “Are you beach body ready?” adverts that appeared on the tubes, causing uproar and, sadly, almost unending publicity for the aforementioned company.
Whilst some have reacted badly to Khan’s move, linking it to his Muslim faith and an apparent desire to cover up women, I for one welcome it. Instead of citing his faith as a motivator, he spoke about his role as a father to two teenage girls, stating, ‘I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies’.
It goes without saying that both men and women- but mostly women- are held up to a ridiculous standard when it comes to the way our bodies should and shouldn’t look- and we absorb a substantial amount of this through early socialization, with advertising playing a large part. And so this move from our newly-appointed Mayor is, at the very least, a step in the right direction, sending a positive message to not only women and girls, but also the parents in charge of raising them.
After all, Transport for London relies heavily on advertising, having generated £170m in 2015, and predicting revenue of £1.5 billion in the next eight years. With that kind of money involved, our Mayor could have easily turned a blind eye and allowed the body-shaming to continue in favour of generating income. Instead, he took a controversial and potentially costly stand on a topical issue- and how that will work out? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see…