What is “normal”? What is a “real woman”? What defines “curves” compared to straight edges? These are all questions we should ask ourselves before wading into the debate over the current hot water high street retailer Zara has gotten into.
The Spanish fashion house has been criticized by shoppers for its latest ad calling on women to “love your curves”. The problem is that the slogan was laid over an image of two slim young models in straight cut jeans.
Irish radio personality Muireann O’Connell kicked off the ire online by tweeting a picture of the advert alongside the eloquent caption “you have got to be shitting me, Zara”.
Her tweet went viral, and Twitter joined in the debate with anger and amusement:
ZARA DO YOU KNOW WHAT CURVES ARE pic.twitter.com/NjJaPnCNx2
— MattMo (@mattmodeterding) February 28, 2017
Really, Zara? I’ve seen more curves on an EU approved banana. pic.twitter.com/kLbuNcA3Zn
— Charlotte Andrews (@charelizand) March 1, 2017
@MuireannO_C hmmm, I can see a typo. We’ve all been there, predictive text changing ‘skinny frame’ to ‘curves’.
— Enda Bolger (@endabolger) February 28, 2017
*sigh* this is the sort of thing that makes my 15 year old, size 8 daughter think she’s fat. https://t.co/shnA2zhEIi
— Mrs VB (@MrsVB) February 28, 2017
While I appreciate that smaller women can be curvy, the impact this is going to have on young girls is not going to be positive. https://t.co/LOTCTLMKe6
— Deborah Stuttard (@TheGreedyGirl) February 28, 2017
— Bert Swattermain (@BertSwattermain) February 28, 2017
Zara are yet to comment on the reaction to their campaign. However, we feel quite mixed about it.
While it is always encouraging when fashion campaigns choose to use models that emulate different types of body shape, we have to avoid the trap of telling women who are on the slim side that they aren’t “real women” and don’t have curves. Thin-shaming is a thing and we should not accept it.
Perhaps a mix of different sized models would be a more preferable – and socially reflective – compromise.