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Why I'm Not Going To Applaud Your Advert Just Because It's 'Photoshop-Free'

01/12/2017 15:35 GMT


Reading praise for an advert being “photoshop free”, I found myself questioning, what does that mean anymore?

Whenever an advertising campaign uses buzzwords like “photoshop-free”, I am always intrigued by what the company’s version of not altering a woman’s body looks like.  

Fashion brand Anine Bing’s latest lingerie campaign is photoshop-free. It features a range of women aged between 19 and 64.

The founder of the LA based and Scandinavian influenced store stated in her blog: “The campaign is about loving yourself, celebrating yourself, being yourself, and wearing what you want to wear for yourself!”. 

The campaign follows nine women who are are entrepreneurs, cancer survivors, philanthropists and mothers, and it focuses on these women being photographed in their “natural environment” - the selection in the diversity of women is conscious and praised.

Though the self-love aspect is fitting for a lingerie advert, unfortunately it does not feel inspiring.

The message behind the campaign may have been about body positivity and loving the places we all call home, but most of Anine Bing’s models were slim and model-esque, especially in the visuals shared with Teen Vogue.  

This campaign is not explicitly made up of an assortment of body shapes, as would be required for it to be in the body positive arena - a term used to help women feel secure and beautiful regardless of their body shape.

From size, to scarring, to body hair, being proud of your body is the core value behind this movement on social media.

The Anine Bing campaign, which displays videos and photographs of women in the underwear sold, does tell stories of pregnancy and different creative leadership roles some of the women have.

Props are definitely to be given to Bing and her team for viewing diversity as being about more than just casting ‘ethnic’ models (ie. including a cancer survivor), but all of the bodies shown in the campaign still fit into Eurocentric and normative beauty standards.

But for a campaign projecting variety, this seemed two dimensional; as if the clothing and accessories brand was on the ‘inclusivity’ bandwagon without truly committing.

The campaign was made up largely of white women stylised in their “natural setting” - out of nine models, just two are women of colour.

And although a few bumps may be shown on the models’ flesh through the simple act of sitting down, this is not anything new or boundary-pushing. 

Instead of having a campaign which reflected reality, the advert was shown through a lens, which may not have had any post photoshop editing, but was narrow in displaying a broad spectrum of beauty and perceptions of women.

Plus - much can be achieved to portray beauty still far from the reality of many, with good natural light and rose-tinted editing.

Lingerie can be seductive and sexy, and underwear models have for the majority of time been suggested to also think a certain way.

Anine Bing had an opportunity to portray women in their underwear to be more interesting and well-rounded but fell into the trap of cliches.

One of their campaign models was founder of skincare line, Jessica Gomes. When featured on Anine Bing’s blog, Gomes was noted to be feeling “cheeky and naughty” in her lingerie. 

 

These descriptions alongside a petite woman are not innovative. Nor is playing into the connotations of a pregnant woman being radiant and sunny.

Anine Bing’s campaign feels as though the intention may have been authentic but the execution lacked any major difference.

You probably shouldn’t be applauded for not editing what women really look like - that should just be the norm.