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.