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Critics Complain About Blue Jean Ad Models

Jeans maker Levi Strauss is coming under fire for a series of ads promoting a relatively new brand of jeans designed to spotlight “curves” in women of all sizes, yet feature, according to critics, only skinny supermodel types.

The ads showcase the brand’s Curve ID Jeans, and come with messages like “Hotness comes in all shapes and sizes.”

Behavioral experts worry that women who aren’t able to wear those smaller sizes could suffer self-esteem issues because others of their size aren’t featured in the ads. Copyranter, an advertising watchdog blog calls the campaign “an insult to women size six and over.”

Here’s a little dose of common sense for these experts: the majority of people who are too “big” to be featured in your typical clothing ad are already dealing with self-esteem issues. And pointing fingers at some advertisement for blue jeans isn’t accomplishing anything.

If the ads never existed, overweight people would still be sensitive about their weight, because they live in a society that wants to see more of people who aren’t overweight.

That’s the way it is. Almost no one wants to be overweight, but we still keep packing as much food in our mouths as we can. In between meals with portion sizes all out of whack, we lament our inability to fit into anything “cool” or “hip.” And here’s the real irony: for some of us, we get depressed about not looking how we want, and respond by eating more.

A better example of a self-fulfilling prophecy I cannot find.

And frankly, in my male perspective, I don’t want to see oversized clothing models in ads. I don’t want people to accept the fact that being overweight is acceptable. It shouldn’t be. And if I see people making it look like it’s okay to be fat, I will certainly allow myself to fall into that same trap. And that’s not going to help my already-strained waistline or my health.

As a guy, what’s going to make me want to buy clothes is a good looking guy who’s in shape and looks good in the clothes. That will make me feel like I at least have a shot at looking decent in them. If I see “plus-sized” guys — in my day, we referred to them as “husky” — modeling clothes, there’s some part of my brain that’s going to convince me that those clothes will make me look out of shape.

No matter how out of shape I might already be.

Don’t believe me?  Just pick up a copy of GQ and look at all of the men’s clothing ads in there.  How many beer guts do you see?

Those of us who carry extra pounds need to stop obsessing about what ads aren’t showing and focus that energy on making ourselves look like we belong in those ads, too.

Our bodies would be better off for that shift of thinking.


  1. Those seem rather tame compared to the Carl Jr’s and Hardee’s commercials. I have stopped eating at those restaurants due to those commercials, which really go too far.

  2. If you want a good chuckle over mens clothing not being portrayed well, get the King’s Big & Tall Men’s catalogue. They sell shirts up to a 7X (my father is 6’4″, 340lbs (far too big) and takes a 3X, so you create the image of a 7X in your mind…) but the men modeling the clothing are anything but husky. They only show the TALL side of the clothing lines. And let’s face it – no one wants to see the man that fits in a 7X under ANY circumstances. We just don’t.
    And don’t be fooled by “plus-sized” women models, either. They are a size 14. I am not clinically obese (I’m close to it BMI-wise, but still not there) and I am a size 16 – 18. I was once up to a size 22. I was ready to remain house-bound at that size, because even though I dress tastefully for my weight (no tight spandex-style pants for me, thank you! And definitely no cut-off tops for my gut to hang out for all to see), society looks down upon us who struggle like crazy with our weight. But let’s be honest, when I look at women’s plus size models MAYBE coming in at a size 12, I’m not thinking what a great showcase she is of the average plus size American.
    I have penfriends all over the world who comment on American society especially where weight is concerned. We have shows called the Biggest Loser and The Bachelorette/Bachelor (I’ll get to the connection between them momentarily); we revere all kinds of unhealthy and outright weird “diets” based on non-medical ideas such as blood type. Any diet that cuts out whole food groups? No. We go to almost any restaurant and eat ourselves insensible because somehow the average American restaurant serving is MASSIVE! We have a plethora of “fast food” designed to fast track you to the Cardiac wing of your local hospital in time for the angioplasty you need; we buy into the worst “in” things such as organic food (it’s all organic!) for too high a cost if they are using less to make it; we are really sheep.
    (The commonality between the Biggest Loser and the Trolling for Hunks/Babes shows is the pandering of good-looking, thin people to the public. The Biggest Loser, while sounding healthy, really doesn’t inspire me to change my perspective on healthy weight loss and (most importantly and most overlooked) subsequent weight management once the excess is gone. The Trolling shows – well, just look at the contestants. No one on those shows is normal or average looking. Going by them, it’s a wonder all us “average” or “normal” un-model like people such as myself have been married for over two decades. But with those shows especially, scratch the surface and you won’t find much inside.
    Oddly enough this post began as a comment about the Levi Strauss jeans touting their representation of curves. At least when Eddie Bauer (one of my favourite manufacturer of jeans) did it, they meant it – they showed the various sizes without the models, but showed them none-the-less. But forget for a moment Levi Strauss. Ever see a commercial for designer jeans such as,,,, such as…. (I never know designer wear names, isn’t that sad?), I don’t know, Calvin Klein? I never even know what the heck they are selling!

  3. Fair enough, but while you won’t see any beer guts on models for men’s clothing, I’ll betcha you’ll also never see any men looking anorexic.  Most of the female models in most clothing ads do. It is simply NOT HEALTHY to be able to see that much of a woman’s skeletal structure when she’s wearing an off-the shoulder top: a healthy person’s sternum DOES NOT SHOW.  When was the last time you saw a male model’s sternum?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.