“Designer Vagina” Ad Banned for Promoting Negative Body Image

An advertisement for labia reshaping has been banned for making women feel bad about the appearance of their vaginas. London Bridge Plastic Surgery clinic was cited by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the U.K.’s industry watchdog, for being irresponsible.

The clinic fought the charge, asserting that the procedure to reduce and reshape the size of the labia minora (inner lips) and labia majora (outer lips) “could be a source of physical discomfort and psychological distress for women and could be caused by pregnancy and childbirth or even some sports or hormonal effects.” Because of this, and the fact that the publication in which it ran found no offense, London Bridge Plastic Surgery didn’t feel it was right to discourage a potentially beneficial advertisement.

And while the ASA claimed to understand, its decision was still upheld. “We considered that it was irresponsible to imply that any part of a person’s body was not natural in appearance, including because it could encourage them to be dissatisfied with their body, regardless of whether or not it encouraged them to undertake cosmetic surgery,” the ruling read.

The notorious regulator might be commendable in its actions, it doesn’t technically have the authority to prohibit anything from being printed or posted. Instead, it generally leverages media attention to raise issues, with the commercials continuing their run. Over the past few years, the Brit witch hunters of advertising have cited L'Oreal, Dior, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, and more for everything from overly “sexually suggestive poses” to “excessive airbrushing.” Here, some of ASA’s recent citations.

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