To boldly curve where no woman has gone before

Levis, the most popular denim jean in the US, is under fire for retooling their advertising, in which they target “curvier” women, and which aims to attract women of all proportions. The ad motto itself is “Hotness comes in all shapes and sizes.”

This sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? So, what’s the problem? I mean, who could possibly object to this kid of inclusiveness?

Well, take a look at one of their recent ads:

Oooh, look at that booty! Hmm, I’m loving all those different shapes and siz… Umm… that’s not the same woman Photoshopped in different positions, is it? Because I’m having a hard time telling those asses apart right now.

Alright, maybe it’s just me. How about if I look at one of the other ads?

Okay, that’s three different women; I can tell because they have different hair. The one with the blue jeans seems to have a rounder ass than the one in orange, but maybe it’s just a trick of the light. I know, I’ll try one of the silhouette ads — that should give me a better picture.

Oh, look — here’s an ad in which they specifically call out the shapes:

Wow, those are fine lookin’ women, Levis.  Oh, my, yes indeed. Why, if I had to pick one for an afternoon frolic, I don’t know if I would go for the woman with the, umm,  slight curve… or the woman with the, ehh,  slightly less of a slight curve… or the one with the, er, slightly more of a slight curve.

Not that it matters, because:
a) I’m probably too old to be thinking about getting together with advertising models, and
b) They’re all the same freakin’ size in the first place!

Really, Levi Strauss? Nobody in your marketing division has ever run across a woman larger than a size 6?

I know that some of you will be able to distinguish the models because of slight variances in size and shape, but the point is that for a company that’s advertising “Bold Curves”, you would think that they’d have, oh, I don’t know, a woman who’s a size 12 or 14, if only to show a body that’s more than marginally different from the lineup they currently feature.

Okay, okay — before we get the pitchforks and torches, props to Levis for at least publicly acknowledging that there are women who are not stick-thin models, and who might want to have some attractively, well-designed casual wear. That’s great. But after putting millions of dollars into the advertising, it’s a bit disappointing to see that they weren’t (ahem) bold enough to feature some of women for whom they are designing those jeans.

And since I’m thinking about curvy women in jeans, how about a shot of some women who are probably not a size 6:

17 thoughts on “To boldly curve where no woman has gone before

  1. In the Levis ad all the women were slim. One was tall with long legs and slim, one was medium height but short legs (the one on the left) and the woman in the middle was slim and thick waisted. I didn’t see anything curvy really.

    I wear Eddie Bauer jeans to cover my curves.

  2. I feel like I’ve seen somewhere that using larger women in advertisements generates negative feelings in female viewers, can’t say if it’s true, but that may be why they are using the same sized models they always do.

    • Oh Peroxide,
      why do you come over here on Grampa Tom’s blog and say stuff like that. Now I have to lecture you, and then he will lecture me…sigh

      Here, look at these;

      http://www.wisegeek.com/why-are-fashion-models-so-thin.htm

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/01/most-models-meet-criteria-for-anorexia-size-6-is-plus-size-magazine/

      and if you want to get all science-y and chit

      http://www.public.asu.edu/~kleong/staffpage/course/Weightstudyselfimage.pdf

      Here is the important part of that article;

      The research findings show that the context in which positive images of women are shown can have a significant positive effect on how these women are perceived, by both men and women.Study 1 found that larger-sized models were evaluated as more attractive when the instructional frame activated nontraditional stereotypes than when it activated traditional stereotypes.Furthermore, women evaluated larger-sized women models as more attractive than men, and particularly so when the instructional frame activated the nontraditional stereotype.It was hypothesized that viewing larger-sized models may encourage women to have more positive thoughts concerning their own body size, which may be reflected back to more positive ratings of the larger-sized models in the ads.The findings are consistent with this explanation.

      Most runway models meet the body mass index criteria for anorexia so even if the fashion industry has convinced people that is what they ought to want to look at… it’s time to change that trend.

      • From your first link: “With a thin-obsessed culture like America, many look at fashion models wearing clothes, and hope such clothes will make them look just as thin and, some say attractive. Studies show that women tend to respond more positively to products advertised on thinner fashion models”

        So that’s a corollary to my statement right? Like I said though, I think I’ve seen an article about larger models creating negative feelings in female viewers. (I have source amnesia, but I remember it because it’s one of those things that seems counter intuitive.)

        Regardless, I am a big fan of women of all types and would also be much happier to see a healthier (and curvier) ideal take root in the advertising industry.

        • Right, I get that we are all on the same page basically but the preference to look at anorexic models is very much built into people (women) by the same folks who hire the anorexic models for runways, magazines, and commercials.
          Early studies were also done which supported the idea that smoking made you feel better.

          Stats don’t lie but liars use stats.

  3. Those models look like a good burger would kill ‘em. The ad says all shapes and size. Like Henry said… “any colour s’long as its black” Levis really mean all shapes and sizes as long as its a perfect 6. Whadda bunch of fukwits!

    • Clothes hang better on skinny women just as they usually look better on the clothes hanger. Curviness adds a third dimension to the way the clothes sit on the human frame (ie to the length and width) hence catwalk models are tediously similar in shape. Dove soap ran some really popular ads featuring women not just of different sizes but also age ranges, skin types etc. It was wonderful and received absolutely glowing reviews from women delighted to look at women generally representative of the general population.

      The size tyranny of the fashion houses is simply down to cost and homosexuals who don’t design for real women anyway. I remember listening with incredulity to a work colleague saying she was dietting so she could wear Karen Millen. I went in to their shop later that month and asked if they did stuff in a size 16. The (malnourished) shop assistant’s face looked like I’d handed her a lemon to suck. It was one of those simple yet highly satisfying moments in a girl’s day :-)

      All those girls in the ad would look rubbish in a basque anyway.

  4. It’s all just crazy making — slight curve looks the curviest to me. Thank god my 20+ year battle with bulimia is over, but this kind of shit certainly doesn’t help. Thanks, Tom, for being ahead of the “curve” on this and sharing the lovely ladies on the “bottom”:-)

  5. You echo my comments exactly. I showed the ad to my partner when I first saw it. Crazy! Love you picture of the Not Size 6 women in jeans. We both thought they looked pretty sexy.

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