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Is Showing Women’s Breast Okay? My Thoughts on Recent (Controversial) Campaign

The Binge on Self-Love podcast is, just like this blog, about eating disorder recovery, self-love, and accepting yourself, your mind and your body just the way it is.

And because of that, I wanted to some time and share my honest thoughts on the recent Adidas campaign that has spared so much controversy that it actually got banned in the United Kingdom. 

If you have no clue what I’m talking about, in May, Adidas launched a new campaign to promote their new sports bras. The campaign used photos of bare breasts of different shapes and sizes of 25 women.

And it sparked a lot of controversies. So much, actually, that the ad got banned in the United Kingdom.

When I first saw it on Instagram and read about the controversies later on the internet, I was surprised by how anyone could find showing women’s chests the way they were portrayed in the campaign inappropriate or as sexualization or objectification of women.

What I’m about to say is just my personal opinion, and you’re in all respects allowed to make your own, but I honestly find it really interesting that a photo of women’s chest could cause so much controversy among people. Was the campaign surprising? For sure. Got it people talking? Definitely. But do I personally find objectifying or sexualising women’s bodies? No.

If you watch a movie and there’s an ad using a woman to increase sales, do you consider that not okay?

When you walk through the shopping mall or on the street and you see a billboard with a model in her underwear, do you consider that not okay?

When you play a music video of your favourite artists and women wearing next to nothing are dancing around them, do you consider that not okay?

But showing photos of real women and their (real) breasts just the way they are to demonstrate that there are so many shapes and sizes of boobs that one type of bra is hardly ever going to fit us all is?  

I am not a confident person. I’ve felt ashamed of my body ever since I hit puberty. When I got boobs, butt and hips, I hated my body ever since.

I don’t like when a women’s body, or any part of it, is being turned into a sexual object. I’ve always tried to hide my boobs as much as I could, wearing anything but a big cleavage, just because I knew people would look at my breast in a way I didn’t want to be looked at. That’s just one of the many narratives that have been created around women’s bodies.

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But, I still don’t see any sexualization or objectification in the campaign. If anything, I love that is showed different types of breasts – not just one nearly-perfect pair.

I’m not saying that from now on, we should start showing naked bodies everywhere no matter what just because human bodies, even naked, are normal. But what I think we should do, is to try to think more deeply about what’s really hurting people and what’s not.

I know that’s extremely difficult to say, considering how super subjective that line between “this is yet okay, but this is not okay” is.

But personally, I think that seeing retouched and edited photos of women all over the internet everywhere and every single day hurts our confidence, our body image and our mind WAY more than seeing real photos of women’s chest. 

I’m wondering, isn’t this – showing women’s chest in a way that’s not promoting anything sexual – one of many possible ways how to take away the objectification and sexualization of human bodies? Showing that breasts are just…breasts?

What I find like such a paradox is that when you open social media, oftentimes the influencers, random people, and even people we know willingly turn themselves into sexual objects by doing “sexy” poses, wearing next to nothing, and typing creepy posts descriptions. And those are people we willingly choose to follow. 

I think that by banning these ads and hating on them, we are those who are turning them into something sexual we are confirming that yes, this is not appropriate, women’s breasts or any part for that matter is something we shouldn’t show, it’s something we should hide.

If you came across the recent Adidas campaign, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

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