'Your Body Is Not A Commodity': Controversial Beach Body Adverts Vandalised On London Underground

23/04/2015 10:59 | Updated 27 April 2015

It doesn't matter which city you live in, as you move around you're constantly confronted with adverts of nearly nude, objectified women.

London is, regrettably, no different. This spring, as millions of commuters descend into the London Underground, they will be confronted with a slim, beautiful woman (Australian model, Renee Somerfield) towering over the platform in her bikini selling Protein World supplements as a weight loss aid.

"Are you beach body ready?" it asks.

The term 'beach body' or 'bikini body' has angered feminists and body image campaigners since time began, and this advert is no exception.

To date there has been widespread outrage on social media, a change.org petition calling for the removal of the advert and, most recently, vandalism.

A recent campaign, 'Each Body's Ready', has steamed around London Underground defacing the adverts.

And we'd like to give them virtual high five.

But a Richard Staveley, head of global marketing for Protein World, told HuffPost UK Lifestyle that the adverts are here to stay.

"We absolutely have no intention of removing the adverts because of a minority making a lot of noise," he revealed.

"We now run Britain’s largest protein facility, selling our products in over 50 countries to more than 300,000 customers. Most of them are women. How could we possibly be sexist?

"It is a shame that in 2015 there are still a minority who aren't focusing on celebrating those who aspire to be healthier, fitter and stronger. Renee, our stunning model (inside and out by the way and falsely assumed as photoshopped!), falls well within what the British government deem to be a healthy weight (based on the BMI system)."

Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, one of the campaigners, Blythe Pepino, singer in the band Vaults, said: "It's not uncommon to see ladies in lingerie etc but the commodification and sexualisation of 'the beach body' and how it seems to have become a meme trending in our lives was too much for me to sit by and watch, so I decided to take action.

"The idea is simply to remind people that the beach is for everyone, the sand and sea are not judging you when you have finally made it on your well deserved holiday.

"At a party we came up with the plan to put different types of bodies in yellow bikinis and physically modify the adverts using removable tape, take some pictures and spread the word as a light hearted retort.

"This snow-balled, as more people got involved, into the slogan #eachbodysready and we ended up shooting a small film because filmmaker (Luis Veloso 'Fried Peppers') was dedicated enough to come to the protest last Sunday - thanks to him we hope to have a little something special to spread around the net. Probably illegal but worth the risk."

Others have taken to putting bikinis on and posing in front of the advert to prove that all bodies are 'beach ready'.

Even Dove have got in on the backlash...

The advert is currently being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) due to the number of complaints made about it.

The change.org petition, which calls for the removal of the advert, has received 15,508 signatures (and counting).

"Perhaps not everyone's priority is having a 'beach body' (by the way, what is that?), and making somebody feel guilty for not prioritising it by questioning their personal choices is a step too far," it reads. "A body's function is far more intricate and important than looking 'beach ready', so in fact it is Protein World who have confused their priorities, if anyone."

"The beach is for all bodies. Pathetic use of guilt advertising," wrote one Lucy Stone, from Bromley in Kent.

Ross Goodman, London, wrote: "This advert ruins my commute every day. It makes me sad and angry that an advert essentially telling women not to eat can be shown on the tube."

What do you think of the adverts? Let us know in the comments below.

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