calling bullshit on FOX and ABC: the “inappropriate” plus-sized woman

by Violet Blue on April 21, 2010

Above is a commercial made by Lane Bryant to air during the show “Dancing With the Stars” also known domestically as “Desperate Trainwrecks.” FOX and ABC refused to show the commercial during “Dancing with the Stars” without restricting the commercial’s airtime to the final moments of the show. FOX demanded an unusually high amount of re-edits, and turned it down it three times before relenting to air it during the final 10 minutes of “American Idol” — only after an exasperated Lane Bryant threatened to pull the ad buy.

Lane Bryant is not an edgy or exciting company, nor are they known for racy or particularly daring ad campaigns, such as Axe. As they wisely asked on their blog, “If Victoria’s Secret and Playtex can run ads at any time during the 9pm to 10pm hour, why is Lane Bryant restricted only to the final 10 minutes?”

They bullied and put Lane Bryant though the editing wringer about the commercial citing “too much cleavage.” As you can plainly see in the commercial, it’s more tasteful than a Victoria’s Secret ad.

The only difference is that the commercial depicts a plus-sized model. And not a very big one at that.

So basically, FOX and ABC are telling us that fat women are obscene, inappropriate, and not family friendly.

The only boobs this issue is actually about are the ones calling the shots at these networks.

(via Thomas Roche)

Update: FOX and ABC have responded, blaming Lane Bryant for not making edits fast enough — still without explaining the nature of the requested edits (beyond “too much cleavage”), nor without explaining why they didn’t air it on Dancing With the Trainwrecks. They say they’ve shown big boned babes in Playtex commercials before, though we have to wonder if they dressed sexy like Victoria’s Secret models… or not. I’m thinking it was this ad, and NOT this ad. ABC is calling LB big fat liars and that they would have aired the edited ad if they hadn’t gone and told everyone about it, still not addressing what the original problem was. Personally, I think they’re missing the point. It’s not that they ‘won’t show big girls’ — it’s that the networks find big girls portrayed in a light of sexual desire as inappropriate. Anyway:

(…) Fox sources countered, however, that it frequently asks marketers to re-edit spots just as it did with Bryant as well as with Victoria’s Secret ads that have aired. The sources said LB’s refusal to comply with requested changes caused the delay that prevented it from airing this week. “Following Lane Bryant’s refusal to make requested edits, Fox agreed to air the unedited ad during the last 10 minutes” of next Wednesday’s Idol program at 9 p.m., a source said.

The Fox sources said the VS ad that aired this week on Idol complied with requested edits “and was specifically produced to meet Fox’s standards for American Idol.”

Fox sources also pointed to the fact that they have aired Playtex underwear ads for “full-figured women” on American Idol to counter LB’s accusation that the network has a bias against plus-sized females. The sources also stressed that the VS ads air only on the 9 p.m. Idol programs, not at 8 p.m.

In a statement, ABC said of LB: “Their statements are not true. The ad was accepted. Lane Bryant was treated absolutely no differently than any advertiser for the same product. We were willing to accommodate them, but they chose to seek publicity instead.”

There is no immediate word on when the ad will air on ABC. (…more, brandweek.com)

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - Google Plus - Flickr - YouTube - Reddit

{ 15 comments }

1 PJ May 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

I have to admit, I’m kinda thinking it was a PR stunt. There are a few reasons why and you can read them ,a href=”http://curvesmart.blogspot.com/search/label/CENSORSHIP%20OR%20PR%20HYPE%3F%20THE%20LANE%20BRYANT%20LINGERIE%20AD”>here. Otherwise, if you want to see more larger models strutting their fine selves around in the glorious skin God gave them, here over to this spot on teh internetz. They aren’t all nude, but suggestive – hell yes!

2 Dez April 23, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I love plus-sized models. They look so natural and beautiful, and that’s what I like about them. I don’t really care what FOX or ABC think about it, but even if they won’t show plus-sized models in a sexy way at all (even non-nude ones) it doesn’t mean I can’t still find them on the Internets! (Wake up ABC, that means I’m not watching TV! Lalala, I can’t hear you~)

3 violet April 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm

see the update above, FOX and ABC responded!

4 mina April 22, 2010 at 11:45 am

Wait! They won’t air a commercial like that during a show that displays women wearing barely any clothes in the first place??? Wow, just wow.

5 violet April 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

Ian, thanks for pointing out the Salon blog post by Clark-Flory. I read it and could not find a justifiable reason to link to it here (and it should be noted that Tracy and I have read together in the past, are on good terms, etc.). As you mentioned in your comment, it is Flory suggesting that “this is a disingenuous publicity stunt” without any source for the opinion — and in fact, the networks declined to comment. As is my experience with big media outlets (like the recent SFgate fracas) they typically don’t comment on things that are true, whereas if someone (or a company) is making untrue statements they are *all over* that legally actionable shit. Believe me, and believe my lawyers.

So LB sticks by their story, and ABC mutters no comment. Salon kicks up dust but doesn’t actually say anything except gosh “we’ll never know”. I’m guessing they needed a different hook for their blog post than mine.

Now, don’t we wonder who Salon is citing as their ‘via’?

6 Tinamarie Bernard April 22, 2010 at 10:58 am

She is absolutely gorgeous.I’m thinking the boobs at the station were jealous of her ‘ladies’.

7 Tom April 22, 2010 at 10:15 am

When the world is used to looking at girls with a ten year old boys figure anything with a real curve on it is considered inappropriate.

Dunno what planet I’m from, but the model they used isn’t in my definition of plus size. Speaking as a ‘plus sized’ man that is.

8 Gigi April 22, 2010 at 8:19 am

It behooves me that some people still don’t get it: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT! I don’t WANT to be a rail thin, bones protruding woman ever again. I dealt with the constant hardships of being as such when I was a teenager and young adult. Now that I am older I am happy with the body I’ve developed. I’m glad I don’t suffer with the issues being the size of a pencil used to bring me and as long as I am healthy, happy and confident, that’s really all that matters. Refusing to run ads like the one above without ridiculous conditions just confirms, yet again, the media is a social tether to self-loathing, self-deprivation and poor body image. Until the general media decides to stop “regulating beauty” we will always suffer such traumas. Thank you, VB, for standing up for beauty of all shapes and sizes.
Be beautiful,
Gigi– size 8, 36|26|40

9 Redme April 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

Thanks for this news. BTW, the model in the ad is not fat at all; she is normal.

Dan is getting some nice dessert after their lunch.

Lettuce hope that the publicists get a lot more attention now that they have been dissed.

10 Ian W April 22, 2010 at 6:58 am

Article on Salon(?) last night suggesting the story **might** be a put-up job by LB to garner more attention: the last 10 mins of this show is apparently a good slot?

11 Robyn April 22, 2010 at 5:11 am

I found this commercial to be far better than any Victoria’s Secret commercial. And I thought it was decided only the nipple couldn’t be shown? These networks constantly run shows where women try to show their cleavage, but of course those are the smaller women shoved into our faces.

12 Cali April 22, 2010 at 4:40 am

That is NOT fat! That is voluptuous, curvy, gorgeous and hotness personified! I would give my right leg to look like that! (Hey, I need my arms to type!) These women make the usual emaciated, angry-looking lingerie models seem about as sexy as Larry King. Who wants to fuck a hungry, pissed off bag of bones?

13 Mark April 22, 2010 at 4:05 am

I believe that the Victoria’s Secrets (VS) commercials are more suggestive. Perhaps it was a matter of how much more money VS pays for advertising compared to Lane Bryant? I bet you $50,000 more and the network would not have complained as much!

The Lane Bryant ad was certainly suggestive, as many commercials are these days. It is called a target audience! The woman featured in the commercial was not fat, obese, or difficult to look at. What’s the problem?

14 LoveHoney Hella April 22, 2010 at 3:37 am

I guess the trouble is that the woman is *actually* attractive. With a gorgeous body and incredible assets. Victoria secrets models are orange with frazzled and fake hair. I get visions of plastic staring at those chicks whereas that woman actually invoked some kind of erotic sensuality.

Either that, or the idea of wearing *shock* just a bra and knickers under a coat is too much ;)

15 Vid Tuesday April 22, 2010 at 12:05 am

That is FAR less provocative than any Victoria’s Secret ad I’ve seen on television. These networks will just have to come to terms with the fact that some women (in fact, the *average* woman) has a certain amount of cleavage that is larger than a size 00-2 model. Especially with recent articles claiming the average bra size in the U.S. has moved from a B to a C cup, with D cups becoming more prevalent as well. Hell, I have friends who are FF and H cups. Are they inherently inappropriate, obscene or not family-friendly?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: