“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.” – Sophia Loren
Just the idea of hitting the beach or attending a friend’s pool party can produce major anxiety for women and men alike. Putting your body out there in a tiny swimsuit for everyone to see is a scary idea that is only made worse by Photoshopped images of supermodels and celebrities. Earlier this summer, an unretouched swimsuit campaign emerged from swimsuit clothier “Swimsuits for All” which focused on embracing our bodies rather than critiquing them. After all, you’re supposed to have fun in the sun, not feel ashamed in it!
The company’s ad campaign featured model Denise Bidot, who donned several of the brand’s one-piece suits and bikini styles without undergoing any digital airbrushing (something largely unheard of in today’s overly perfected approach to marketing). The photo shoot received mixed reactions from people worldwide, and it posed an important question: Why do we spend so much time tearing ourselves – and one another – down?
“I have cellulite. I admit it. But sometimes, I just say, ‘Screw it, I am going to wear a bikini.” – Cindy Crawford
It’s indisputable that Bidot is a beautiful woman – sun-kissed skin, golden brown locks, and an hourglass frame that looks vibrant and healthy. The fact, however, that she had visible “imperfections” made the photo shoot stand out from the rest. Mass audiences aren’t used to seeing even the slightest dimpling, stretch marks or tummy rolls on a model. But the truth is that even the Victoria’s Secret angels – who are touted as having ideal bombshell physiques – have these so-called flaws. They’re human. No one, no matter how gorgeous, captivating, toned and symmetrical he or she may be, is flawless. Perfection doesn’t exist. It’s something that we can mimic with the right makeup and flattering clothes, but it’s not something that’s natural.
“I have cellulite, just like almost every other woman on the planet.” – Kim Kardashian
Bidot’s body, beautiful as is, is an important reminder to all of us to stop the body-shaming. Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes, and while the Instagram fitness models and runway walkers of the world may look perfectly sculpted, there are several tools of the trade that help them create that illusion. The notion of the perfect face and perfect body equating to the perfect life is a fallacy. You can look like a million bucks, but if you don’t feel like it, those looks are worthless.
Perhaps that’s why the campaign drew so much attention. It pulled back the curtain to fully expose the tricks of the trade, to show the canvas before the artist slathers it in shadows and light. It’s important that consumers understand that the quest for perfection is all smoke and mirrors. There’s nothing wrong with making the most of what we have, as long as we aren’t ashamed of the canvas on which we’re about to paint our preferred self-portrait.
What are your thoughts on this groundbreaking ad campaign? Sound off in the comments!