Activewear brand Lorna Jane has dismissed suggestion that a promotional postcard issued in its stores is “body shaming”, by saying critics of the image are simply “looking to create drama”.
Fiona Sutherland, Non-Diet Dietitian and Co-Director of Body Positive Australia, came across the postcard shortly after Christmas while in one of the company’s retail outlets.
The cartoon image features two snowmen side by side; one labelled December is smiling and wearing a Lorna Jane tank top around its slim, triangular torso. The other – labelled January – has a sad expression, and (and presumably because) its body is round.
The caption above the picture reads, “It’s all fun and games until your jeans don’t fit.”
When she saw the postcard, Sutherland says she felt a mixture of frustration and sadness.
“This time of year is difficult for many people, and the [Lorna Jane] marketing team would be well aware of it. But instead of bolstering peoples sense of worth by reminding them that they don’t need to make up for ‘fun and games’, they chose the gaslighting route, which can lead people to feel like their body is at fault,” she told Mamamia.
The cartoon, she argues, sends a damaging message that there are ‘good’ bodies and ‘bad’ bodies, and that changes to them should only occur in a certain way.
“Bodies do change throughout life – particularly a woman’s body,” she said, “but the fear itself around that is hugely problematic for many people, perpetuating disordered eating behaviours and a life that revolves around controlling or fixing their body.”
Determined to call out what she argues is “shame-based marketing”, Sutherland shared an image of the postcard via Body Positive Australia’s Facebook page, where it has been amassed hundreds of reactions and dozens of comments.
Among them: “And the view that your happiness is determined by the size of your clothes continues…”
And, “As if I didn’t already feel bad enough that my work pants don’t fit this week.”