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You won’t see ads with ‘unrealistic’ bodies in London anymore


London is about to be super body-positive. (Günter Hentschel/Flickr)

Time for some good news. London Mayor Sadiq Khan (the city's first Muslim mayor) is changing the face of the London subway. From retouched, thin models to the unthinkable: Men and women with realistic body shapes.

What exactly did he do?

In short, Khan banned all advertisements on the London subway that promote an unhealthy body image:

“As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.”

The decision comes after a 2015 weight-loss ad in Hyde Park with unrealistic body proportions sparked outrage. A protest against the ad gathered over 70,000 signatures.

When will the changes be implemented?

Starting in July, Transport for London (TFL) will stop producing ads that “demean” women or make them feel bad about their bodies.

The changes will affect only some of TFL’s 12,000 ads, but will probably still make a difference.

Graeme Craig, the Commercial Development Director for TFL, noted how you can't avoid offensive ads:

“Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment. We want to encourage great advertising that engages people and enhances the transport network."

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You won’t see ads with ‘unrealistic’ bodies in London anymore

Samantha Rhodes

Samantha is a senior at Georgetown studying English and studio art. She has written for USA TODAY College, The Hoya, DC Life Magazine, and Smithsonian, among others, and is the current co-editor-in-chief of Georgetown campus publication Venture Capitol, which covers entrepreneurship and startups in DC. When not reporting or shooting with her Nikon, she's surrounded by books on Greek mythology and neuroscience or listening to tech podcasts on her way to Bikram yoga.

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