Shannon Bradley-Colleary, a blogger who writes about body image issues, has started an E-petition to convince Yves Saint Laurent’s CEO Francesca Bellettini to stop using “seemingly malnourished” models in the brand’s advertisements.
The petition has so far been signed by 45,341 supporters.
Bradley-Colleary’s concern was sparked when she saw the advertisement above in the March issue of Vanity Fair. On her blog, she writes: “I think we’ve all become accustomed to seeing women whose bodies are simply animate hangers for clothing. But even with my high tolerance for ultra-thin models this one struck me as particularly cruel.”
The popular blogger believes the cruelty of the image applies to both the model, who may have had to punish her body to achieve the look portrayed, and to the young girls exposed to this beauty ideal. “I don't want one more woman or girl to be damaged by the message this image sends. Which seems to be that frailty and uber-thinness is the Beauty Standard,” she writes in her petition.
Bradley-Colleary emphasises that she means no disrespect to the model in question and that her criticism is aimed at a “business practice that fosters unhealthy working conditions.” Although she also makes it clear that she does not know whether this particular woman is naturally underweight, she points to the fact that only 2 per cent of people in the US have this body type. The remaining 98 per cent would need to deprive themselves in order to be this size.
The online writer, who has also written for The Huffington Post, believes the fact that she is a mother of two young daughters has further motivated her fight against what she describes as the ad industry’s “War on Women”. She has blogged openly about her own struggles with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and warns that in the worst case, images such as these can lead to serious eating disorders, which may result in death.
There are almost 5,000 more signatures needed for the petition to reach its goal. If successful, Bradley-Colleary wants to begin a movement encouraging advertisers to hire healthy models, and hopes to incite change “one ad campaign at a time”.