When blogger Jes M. Baker saw Lane Bryant's #ImNoAngel campaign, she was disappointed. While the rest of the world, even us here at A Plus, applauded the clothing retailer for finally featuring models who look different than the Victoria's Secret angels, Baker thought that the campaign still wasn't telling the whole story.
She took to her blog, The Militant Baker, to share the letter she wrote to Lane Bryant's CEO, Linda Heasley, in response:
You were quoted as saying:
"Our '#ImNoAngel' campaign is designed to empower ALL women to love every part of herself. Lane Bryant firmly believes that she is sexy and we want to encourage her to confidently show it, in her own way."
Personally, I question how empowering these images can be for "all 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.
At the end of the letter, Baker included photos from a new kind of inclusive campaign. Photographed by Jade Beall, the series finally featured women with body types that the media almost always ignores — bodies that were more round, bodies that were transgender and bodies with disabilities. The message (and campaign title): #EmpowerALLBodies.
"I believe that [#ImNoAngel] is progress, but not the whole story of plus size women! And certainly not the whole story of Lane Bryant’s customers," Baker told A Plus in an email.
Critics (okay, mostly trolls) have asked why, if both campaigns want to be inclusive, they're still promoting one kind of body type. But these images aren't to say "real" women look this way or this is the only body type. Instead, they're trying to say "women look like this, too, and they deserved to be revered as beautiful."
Studies have also shown that size isn't an indicator of overall health, and Baker pointed out that not representing women who don't have that ideal body type is painful and exclusive.
"Of course you can't represent every type of body when you have six models (trust me, I know), but what Lane Bryant can do... is a little bit better," Baker wrote in her letter.
"I’m going to ask you to consider including some of the following next time: cellulite; 90% of women have it. Bellies; many plus women don't have flat torsos."
"Transgender women; they're 'all woman' too."
"All abilities; we’re all inherently sexy."
"Small boobs and wide waists; we're not all 'proportional.' Stretch marks and wrinkles; they're trophies of a life lived. And this is just the beginning!"
And it looks like Lane Bryant got the message.
Baker says the company responded and told her that they plan to do more to be inclusive.
In publishing her letter and executing the #EmpowerALLWomen campaign, Baker was also able to "flood" the internet with images of women who are different shapes and sizes.
And like her:
And like them:
To read Baker's full letter head over to her website, The Militant Baker.