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This plus-size photo series is the perfect counter to Lane Bryant’s ads
Body-positive activist Jes Baker was disappointed with the #ImNoAngel campaign. So she made her own.
When Lane Bryant released its #ImNoAngel campaign earlier this month, it was immediately hailed as the next frontier of body-positive advertising, as is the case with pretty much every ad campaign that features models who don’t look like they’re prepubescents suffering from a bad case of scurvy.
But activist Jes Baker didn’t find the plus-size lingerie campaign particularly empowering or body-positive. She thought it showcased a disappointingly limited range of bodies. So she decided to launch #EmpowerAllBodies, a photo series by photographer Jade Clark that showcases women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors.
The difference between the two campaigns is pretty stark:
Militant Baker/Jade Beall Photography
Militant Baker/Jade Beall Photograph
Militant Baker/Jade Beall Photography
In an open letter to Lane Bryant CEO Linda Heasley, Baker took issue with the homogeneity of the #ImNoAngel campaign, which largely showcased young, attractive white women. “#ImNoAngel only shows ONE shape while redefining the sexy plus women; that shape being the traditional hourglass: a body with a waistline considerably smaller than a larger bust and hips. This is almost always (and is, in this case) accompanied by a flat belly,” Baker wrote.
Baker went on to take issue with Lane Bryant’s casting choices. “You’ve presented the “ideal” plus body: hourglass, perceivably ‘healthy,’ cellulite-free, able-bodied, cis-gender, and ‘conventionally’ beautiful,” she wrote. She suggested that, in the future, Lane Bryant employ models with larger bellies and cellulite as well as women of color and transgender women.
#EmpowerAllBodies isn’t necessarily inherently more subversive than the #ImNoAngel campaign: After all, both campaigns feature women with bodies that are considered non-normative in the mainstream modeling industry, and there’s nothing inherently revolutionary about seeing a bunch of ladies pose suggestively in their underwear. That said, it does seem like the women in the campaign are having a blast—and after all, that’s ostensibly what a campaign empowering women’s bodies is supposed to be about.
EJ Dickson is a writer and editor who primarily covers sex, dating, and relationships, with a special focus on the intersection of intimacy and technology. She served as the Daily Dot’s IRL editor from January 2014 to July 2015. Her work has since appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mic, Bustle, Romper, and Men’s Health.