A television advertisement for waist trainers has been banned in United Kingdom for portraying unrealistic body images.
The Velform Miniwaist commercial, which aired on Shop Channel UK, features women wearing constricting corsets and promises them a waist “so small you’ll be everyone’s envy.”
"Women are supposed to look like this, and men like this," a presenter comments during the ad. "But very often, especially as we age, we lose that figure. It’s not just you. Fortunately now, there’s a way to get that womanly figure that identifies us, that creates that fabulous, perfect and extreme hourglass figure that all women want."
The Advertising Standards Authority investigated the ad after it received complaints from viewers saying the commercial was harmful. The ASA has deemed the ad to be “irresponsible” and banned it; it has also reproached and advised the company not to air ads implying a tiny waist is a requirement for an attractive figure.
This trend for waist training, amplified by celebrities like the Kardashians, Jessica Alba and Snooki, has raised concerns about breathing problems and other health issues.
Doctors and personal trainers have made a number of warnings about the safety of wearing waist trainers after noting a rise in their popularity. Tight corsets can cause harm to the ribs by reshaping them over a period of time; internal organs that are tightly compressed by a waist trainer can become permanently damaged as well.
Leyah Shanks, an advocate of positive body image said the words used in the ad were “shocking.”
"It's a classic case of capitalization on insecurities, which have themselves been generated by brands like this," she said. "No one should be telling anyone else what someone is 'supposed' to look like, especially not a company trying to sell a product.”