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Avon Apologizes for Body Shaming Ad, Says 'We Hear You'

Great, but why was there no thought before?

I'm a reasonably fit, nearly-46-year-old woman with two kids.  I'm not really big into beauty products because in general, I don't like to fuss too much.  I moisturize my legs, I wash my face and hair (and whatever else might be dirty), and I brush my teeth on the regular.  That's about it.

Generally speaking, I like what Avon has stood for throughout the years and have appreciated that it stands behind causes such as research into a cure for breast cancer. Though I really don't know much about the company as a whole, it's not as though I've gotten a negative vibe from anyone who either uses Avon products or sells them, and certainly, I have been known on occasion to flip through Avon catalogues from time to time in pursuit of gifts for either one of my two daughters.

I have come to accept that regardless of how fit I am or become, there are certain things that will come with life's events.  One of these is cellulite, so when I saw Avon's ad about how your thighs shouldn't have dimples and an associated article about it on my Facebook wall this morning, I was both surprised and quite disappointed.  

The ad in question is for Avon's #NakedProof line of products, and the tag line for the ad reads, “Dimples are cute on your face (not on your thighs),” per the article from New York PostThe products are apparently designed to soften stretch marks, reduce cellulite and firm skin.

I have been quite blessed as far as stretch marks go.  In spite of being pregnant four times—twice to term, with two beautiful girls who are now almost 10 and 14—the only sign of stretch marks that I really have is one right by my knee.  It's a reminder of the huge growth spurt I experienced as I was about to turn 14, and I'd grown something like five or six inches in as many months.  I have noticed the development of some cellulite around my butt, in spite of running and exercising regularly, but that's life.  While I am not thrilled that it's there, I also acknowledge that the existence of my cellulite is just something I have to deal with, and odds are good that there is not a whole lot I can do about it.

With all of that said, why did Avon not appear to think before creating this ad campaign?  I understand that marketing campaigns are often dreamed up months in advance, but it's not as though the ongoing social media campaign against body shaming is new.  Actress Jameela Jamil (TheGoodPlace) was the one who ultimately called Avon out, and to the company's credit, they did admit their mistake and say they were taking steps to correct it.  The ad has reportedly been pulled from future publications.

However, companies spend a lot of money in their marketing, and they also spend a lot of money correcting mistakes.  While it's great that they're turning around and fixing this (so countless women and men won't be sitting there feeling as though their favorite cosmetics company is somehow shaming them) it would have taken a couple of minutes of discussion if someone had just suggested that people with cellulite could take one look at the ad and believe that Avon thought there was something wrong with who they were or what they looked like.

Do we live in a world where people are now questioning the motives and intent behind certain advertisements?  Absolutely. One need only look at the recent Gillette ad about toxic masculinity to realize the truth in that.  We should always examine the media we consume with a critical lens, as there are biases everywhere.  However, there is no question that in this case, Avon did not give the thought it should have to this particular ad campaign, and they're doing the right thing by pulling it.

That's the naked truth.

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Avon Apologizes for Body Shaming Ad, Says 'We Hear You'
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