Oh baby, was one California mom irked when she laid eyes on a diaper ad in her email Thursday! Melody (who prefers not to share her last name) tells Yahoo Parenting that the image of a baby shown in a promotion she received for Huggies’ Little Movers Slip-On Diapers appeared to have airbrushed thighs.
“The picture looked manipulated,” says the mom, who has an 11-month-old daughter. “Really manipulated — like what you see in fashion magazines to make models too thin and too perfect,” she adds. So Melody posted the image on Reddit, asking, “Is it just me or did this Huggies ad photoshop thigh gap on a toddler?”
The mom explains, “I just felt like there’s no need for airbrushing to exist on an ad about babies. All babies are wonderful and super cute. A baby is perfect no matter what.” Seeing an image that appeared altered, she says, “made me feel badly. I mean, don’t we love our babies no matter how they look? This ad was not cool.”
The diaper ad mother Melody received and posted on Reddit. (Photo: Imgur/spittingpigeon).
While some commenters on her post suggested that it was the diaper that had been digitally retouched, brushing off the brouhaha, others lamented the “poor child” and sad state of affairs if chubby baby thighs were indeed thinned out. “How icky, changing a baby’s body!” remarked one writer. “The shaming begins that early, ugh.”
Yet a representative for Huggies says that there wasn’t any airbrushing involved — as far as they know. “We always use real-life customers and users of our products, and do not airbrush the bodies of the babies in our advertising and photography,” Huggies spokesperson Terry Balluck tells Yahoo Parenting. “All babies are different. We look to celebrate those differences and everyday real-life tests and messes in our photography and communication.” Balluck added that the Little Movers Slip-On Diapers line is no longer sold by Huggies directly, and said he cannot speak to the advertising practices of third-party sellers.
Retouched or real, body-image expert Dr. Robyn Silverman says that the discussion this photo raises is actually important for parents to consider. “Children are individually schooled in the merits of fat hatred and body perfection from the time they are too young to walk away and defend themselves,” Silverman, the author of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls And How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It, tells Yahoo Parenting. “While babies do not make sense of these messages, studies tell us that by ages 3 to 5, young children are already aware of the ‘fat is bad’ message.”
For that reason, Silverman continues, “It’s vital to teach even our youngest children to embrace their bodies for the amazing things they can do. That provides them with a strong mindset that can guard them against negative messages in the media, on social media, and even in their own social circles that tell them that they are not good enough the way that they are because their bodies don’t adhere to the standard of thinness much of society touts as the ideal.” When children feel good about their bodies, she insists, “they are more likely to treat them with the respect they deserve.”
(Top photo: Imgur/spittingpigeon)