Are you beach body ready?

Sadiq Khan has an interesting plan.

Adverts promoting negative body images will be banned across the Transport for London (TfL) network from next month.

As part of his mayoral election manifesto Sadiq Khan pledged to ban adverts promoting “unhealthy or unrealistic” body images.

The advertising watchdog received 378 complaints in 2015 about a weight-loss advert that asked customers if they were “beach body ready?”

Mr Khan has now asked TfL to set up its own advertising steering group.

The ASA rejected the complaints.

The Protein World “beach body ready” promotional posters were defaced in Tube stations and a petition was started calling for the adverts to be banned, however the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) watchdog later ruled the advert depicting a bikini-clad female model was neither offensive nor irresponsible.

Being a Yank, I feel unease about setting up official bodies to manage advertising…but being a woman, I also feel unease about the drip drip drip effect of the way women are displayed in advertising, including the Protein World posters.

Protein World's advert, asking "Are you beach body ready?"

Mr Khan said: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.”

Graeme Craig, TfL commercial development director, said: “Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media.

“Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment.”

Getting someone at Transport for London to take the issue seriously is better than having outsiders do it, I think – although I also hate it that London transport went private under Thatcher.

On the BBC London Facebook page many people were quick to praise the mayor’s initiative. Magdalena Michalik who lives in Greenwich said: “Please ban it. I don’t want my children to look at it!” but others warned it was the start of the “Islamification” of London and said the mayor was adopting this policy because of his religious values.

That’s the other tricky bit. I’ve seen reporting saying this is just Khan telling women to cover up.

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