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H&M’s New Ad Campaign is Not as Body Positive As You Think

by Ellie

You may have seen the new Fall 2016 H&M ad campaign featuring Ashley Graham that was released earlier this month. At first glance, the campaign looks great; with a plus size model as the face of it, but everything is not quite what it seems. While the store will offer plus size options in their new line, they will only be available online; so plus size women will be unable to have the same in-store experience as other women.

H&M Ashley Graham
COURTESY OF H&M

Image: Instagram/theashleygraham

This has brought H&M under fire, with many people saying that H&M is being misleading by featuring a plus-size model as the face of the campaign when plus-size options will not even be available in stores. A large reason so many women are disappointed in the campaign is the fact that they are, yet again, being denied the traditional shopping experience. Most stores already carry very little—if any—plus size options, so H&M’s news is just another hit.

H&M released a statement regarding the controversy, explaining that while their product range has grown over the years, not all stores have floor space for everything they offer, including the various sizes. As a result, some things can only be found online, along with the rest of the new collection.

On the other hand, however, there are many people who do not see the use of Ashley Graham in the campaign to be so negative. Rather, they find that it is helping to promote a more body positive outlook. Graham herself feels this way about the campaign, stating that she hopes that young women shopping at H&M will see her ads and remember there is not a standard definition of beauty nor is there one “perfect size.” It is a message supported by the H&M campaign in some ways, as it makes no mention of sizes or body types; they just feature Ashley Graham looking amazing and fashionable.

It is just the kind of message that many young women can benefit from because even though there have been large strides in terms of body positive thinking, there is still a struggle for young women to love themselves as they are. Seeing Graham continue to defy odds and breaking the mold on traditional beauty standards has made her an excellent role model for young women everywhere.

There is no doubt that H&M was incredibly misleading when it comes to this new ad campaign. While it is huge for them to choose Ashley Graham as the face of their campaign—a first for the company—the lack of in-store options seems to take away from their attempt at a body positive campaign. Hopefully, however, this is another step in the right direction, in terms of a more inclusive shopping experience for all sizes.

Another hope is that the controversy surrounding this ad campaign will serve as a lesson to other brands; while choosing a plus-size model to be the face of the campaign is great, at least make sure there are plus-size options available within the store front.

See also:

#HereIAm: A Message About Body Confidence

Hey Society, #WeWearWhatWeWant