Informing Contexts – Decoding the Advert – 1
“It is a good thing that women are so easily manipulated. Otherwise, most of us wouldn’t be here.”
― William Randolph Hearst
Figure 1: Lane Bryant I’m No Angel
This image from a campaign by retailer Lane Bryant was intended to promote that sexy comes in many different shapes, sizes and colour. It is ok to be beautiful and confident women regardless of your body type or ethnicity. It was created to counteract a similar looking Victoria Secret advert that used much thinner models. The Lane Bryant plus size models are definitely not Victoria’s Secrets angels (size 0 and size 2 models). The Victoria’s Secrets advert is shown below.
Figure 2: Victoria’s Secrets The ‘Perfect’ Body
The main difference between these adverts, besides the obvious model sizes, is that the models in the Lane Bryant image appear to be having fun. The image implies sexiness with the text #ImNoAngel. However, in the image itself there are no underlying sexual undertones as seen in the Victoria’s Secrets advert. Models in this advert are twirling their hair, sticking out their butts and the lingerie they are wearing is pushing up their breasts. This simply is not the case in the Lane Bryant advert, where the models look comfortable in the lingerie they are wearing. The body language between the two adverts is also distinctively different. Victoria’s Secrets models are about being sexy; Lane Bryant’s are more about having fun. I am not sure that this is the message that Lane Bryant was intending to share with us.
The Lane Bryant image could be viewed as pitting fat vs thin. The image is skewed in that it only shows a subset of women who are of a larger build, but still with all the ‘correct’ proportions. They still have mainly flat stomachs which is not true of many women. It is saying that you should not be thin! This is still not a true reflection of society. It is skinny-shaming and could be highly offensive to anyone who was unable to gain weight or was recovering from anorexia. Lane Bryant is still drawing attention to women’s size.
Culturally, women are made to feel they need to conform to images of perfection. Patriarchal cultures still pit women against each other – it keeps women obsessing about their looks. This campaign was designed to promote diversity in representation of different women. It is designed to empower ALL women to love themselves and be confident in themselves. Although the advert is a step in the right direction, I think there is still a long way to go. The message would have been more powerful if women of ALL sizes were included.
Hearst, W. R. From Quotes About Advertising (263 quotes) . 2017. Quotes About Advertising (263 quotes) . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/advertising?page=3. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
Figure 1: Bryant, L. From The Independent. 2017. Plus size retailer Lane Bryant hits out at Victoria’s Secret with #ImNoAngel underwear campaign | The Independent. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/news/plus-size-retailer-lane-bryant-hits-out-at-victorias-secret-with-imnoangel-campaign-10159408.html. [Accessed 13 March 2017].
Figure 2: Victoria’s Secrets. From The Huffington Post. 2017. Victoria’s Secret ‘Perfect Body’ Campaign Changes Slogan After Backlash | The Huffington Post. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/06/victorias-secret-perfect-body-campaign_n_6115728.html. [Accessed 13 March 2017].