Culture 03 March 2019
In recent years, we've seen the welcome introduction of body positivity into mainstream beauty and fashion brands. It makes a stark contrast to the stick-thin supermodel-promoted advertising of the 90s, promising consumers that if they bought this particular item of clothing, they too would instantly become beautiful and skinny.
Of course, this type of promotion still occurs, but there are many brands that are becoming more inclusive and body positive in both their designs and marketing.
The issue we have now, however, is distinguishing between brands that genuinely care about their customers' wellbeing, and those which are merely using body positivity to make a profit. Unfortunately, there are some who are jumping on the bandwagon and using what should be an empowering movement to create successful advertising campaigns and sell more products.
That's why we've compiled this list of brands that go the extra mile to enforce body positivity; read on to find out more.
Photo credit: Knix
Knix is an inspiring underwear brand that specializes in leakproof period underwear, comfortable bras.
Since their launch in 2013, Knix have put their emphasis on women being comfortable and confident, whatever their shape and size. As a brand, they don't believe in sticking to conventional women's underwear concepts — usually hyper-sexualised, lacey and uncomfortable. Instead, they've used their innovative design ideas and period panty technology to create revolutionary yet functional underwear products.
Not only are their period undies leakproof, moisture-wicking and anti-odour, but their bras are comfortable, supportive and wireless. Sounds like a win, doesn't it?
Knix really believe in promoting body positivity: they want all women to be comfortable in their own skin and free to be themselves. Choosing underwear products that are specifically designed to make you feel confident and comfortable seems like a pretty good place to start.
Photo credit: @asos
This well-known British online retailer has been paving the way in body positivity for a while now. ASOS have made a deliberate effort to be inclusive and diverse — choosing to work with more than 200 models to represent their sprawling audience across the world.
They haven't stopped at just using models with different body types either; ASOS clothes come in more than 30 sizes, which they've committed to providing at the same price. By being size-inclusive, ASOS have shown a progressive attitude towards body positivity that many online clothing stores unfortunately lack.
ASOS's advertising campaigns and imagery also reflect this attitude: they refuse to retouch, remove stretch marks or digitally alter images of their models. As such a huge online retailer — and one whose core demographic are young women — it's a relief to see that they are normalising practices like showing their models with stretch marks and representing the majority of women's experiences.
Furthermore, they have also partnered with GLAAD, one of the biggest voices in LGBTQ activism, to create a gender-neutral accepting collection.
Sport England: This Girl Can
Photo credit: @thisgirlcanuk
Sport England is a organization dedicated to mobilizing the British nation into taking part in sports and activities — regardless of their age, gender, background or ability. The organization created the “This Girl Can" campaign, which has now turned into an extremely successful, globally recognized movement.
This Girl Can is a female fitness movement that is both body positive and inclusive — celebrating and supporting girls and women of all backgrounds being active. Since the birth of This Girl Can in 2015, they have been inviting women everywhere to join in and get moving, without worrying about how they look.
It's refreshing to see a brand promoting body positivity in terms of physical fitness and the effect that this has on mental wellbeing. Sports and fitness brands can be guilty of excluding women if they don't fit a certain body ideal, making women less likely to want to exercise and impacting both their mental and physical health.
Far from relying on the conventional photos of super-fit sports stars, This Girl Can shines the spotlight on “real" women and put the power in their hands instead. The brand invites their audience to join them on their journey to inclusivity and positivity in exercise by sharing photos of themselves using the hashtag #ThisGirlCan.
Check out their Instagram — it's incredibly inspiring and moving to see the women featured, and how the brand celebrates self-love in such a positive way.
Photo credit: ModCloth
ModCloth is a San Francisco-based online fashion retailer that specialises in quirky, vintage-inspired clothing. Not only do they offer a range of sizes, but they feature models with a wide range of body types and sizes in their campaigns to accurately reflect their audience.
As with the other brands we've mentioned on this list, ModCloth signed an anti-photoshop pledge in 2014, vowing to never change the size, color, proportion or physical features of their models.
They've also made an effort to become much more size-inclusive — in both their product offerings and their language. In 2015, they experimented with removing the “plus size" section from their homepage to create a more inclusive, integrated brand community. Since then, they have reintroduced a plus size section to improve their customers' shopping experience, but they continue to use positive language and have removed plus-oriented language from the site in order to be more inclusive.
All of the above brands have made a conscious effort to promote body positivity through their clothing offerings, messaging and core brand values. As a result, they are championed by their customer communities — and seem to be having a real impact across the retail industry. It just goes to show that the body positive movement isn't just a marketing fad — it's here to stay.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist