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5 Celebrities and Brands Challenged for Their Distorted Views on Body Image and Diversity

body image

Body positivity and inclusivity are trending.

Recently, body positivity is gaining momentum and while progress has been made, there are still several brands and celebrities that are perpetuating distorted views on body image and lacking inclusivity. The five celebrities and brands mentioned below have faced challenges and criticism for their distorted views on body image and diversity.

1. Victoria's Secret

Once considered an iconic lingerie brand, Victoria's Secret faced a big backlash for its limited representation of body types and lack of diversity. The annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show showcased a narrow definition of beauty, featuring supermodels with similar body shapes. The brand was criticised for excluding plus-size models and failing to embrace a broader range of sizes and backgrounds. In response to public pressure, Victoria's Secret cancelled its fashion show in 2019 and pledged to rebrand with a renewed focus on inclusivity, which happened two years later with their new campaign, The VS Collective, in which they swap their ‘angels’ with ‘what women want’.

2. Karl Lagerfeld

The famous fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, while celebrated for his creative genius, was known for his controversial remarks. He made degrading comments about plus-size models, perpetuating harmful body ideals. His preference for predominantly white models also brought him criticism for the lack of representation from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Although Lagerfeld's influence in the fashion industry was significant, his opinions on body image and diversity were usually criticised as exclusionary.

3. Abercrombie & Fitch

The clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch faced significant criticism for its exclusive and discriminatory practices. The brand was known for only stocking clothes in limited sizes, and their marketing strategies targeted a specific "cool kids" aesthetic who fit their narrow body ideals. This approach distanced customers who did not fit into their aesthetic, sustaining body shaming and exclusion. Even a Netflix documentary has been released about this, called White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch, after facing boycotts and public outrage, leading to a shift in their marketing strategies and a push towards more inclusivity.

4. Kim Kardashian

While Kim Kardashian has gained a significant influence on social media and built a successful brand, she has been accused of promoting unrealistic beauty standards. Known for her curvaceous figure, Kardashian has faced criticism for allegedly enhancing her body through surgical procedures, leading to unrealistic body expectations for her fans. Her promotion of detox teas and appetite suppressants on social media has also drawn backlash for promoting unhealthy weight loss methods. Critics say that these actions may contribute to body insecurities especially among young girls and an unhealthy obsession with unattainable beauty ideals.

5. Dolce & Gabbana

Luxury fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana faced criticism for some incidents that were considered culturally insensitive and offensive. One notable controversy involved releasing a series of videos in which a Chinese model struggled to eat Italian foods with chopsticks, perpetuating racial stereotypes. The brand was accused of insensitivity, and even though the brand insisted their account has been hacked and apologised, they had to cancel their show in Shanghai and their products were removed from several Chinese shops.

I believe that in an era that celebrates individuality and inclusivity, it is essential for influential figures and brands to embrace diverse beauty standards and promote positive body image.


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