16 November 2011

All Hail the Advertising Standards Authority

Thank you, UK, for your commitment to social responsibility.  Not in every form -- I'm not oblivious to the riots that took place in August over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan -- and like every country, state, city, etc., the UK has its issues.

But I have to give them mad credit on this: the third most publicized ad banning in the country. 

First we had the banning of Julia Roberts' Lancome ad and Christy Turlington's Maybelline ad (both brands owned by parent company L'Oreal) for being Photoshopped into oblivion.

Then they moved on to ban Dakota Fanning's Marc Jacobs ad for being too sexually provactive and for sexualizing children (she is only 17).  I'm actually really shocked that she posed for this ad -- not shocked that it's him, as much as I adore him.  He is an envelope pusher.  But Dakota Fanning seems like the type of intelligent young girl who might look at this and think without prompting that it is completely inappropriate and sending the wrong message not only to other girls but to men -- not the kind you want to take home either.

And now they've banned UK retailer Drop Dead Clothing from running bikini ads of a dangerously thin  Amanda Hendrick.  This is obviously not the photo of a healthy woman; it's the photo of a woman who desperately needs assistance (which should be the responsibility of the agencies). 

All hail the Advertising Standards Authority for banning these.

As a long time, die-hard fashion lover I highly commend the actions taken.  Fashion does not have to equal physical perfection, the exploitation and objectification of youth or the sacrifice of one's body.  It just doesn't.  Period.  Hands down. No argument. 

A dress can be perfect, the fit of a pant, the curve of a shoe.  These things can also be sexy, erotic, evocative.  But the pressure, scrutiny and untimely provocation and manifestation of what is beautiful, sexy and acceptable constantly trumps itself at disgusting speeds and on horrifying levels; not only giving fashion a really bad name globally but also lending itself to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and a mix of other potentially harmful cocktails.

Hopefully there will be an international following of the UK's standards.  In some instances, decisions like these may actually, in fact, save a life.