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Cosmetic surgery ad banned for suggesting surgery can fix young women’s body insecurities

A TV ad by MYA Cosmetic Surgery has been banned by the advertising watchdog for “irresponsibly” suggesting that confidence comes from having the perfect body and that surgery can fix young women's body insecurities.

The ad, which appeared on TV in January, followed the testimonials of four different women who had undergone breast enhancement surgery. The conversations between the women centred around the negative perceptions they held of their breasts prior to cosmetic surgery.

The women referenced being “nervous” about wearing a bikini in public and being unable to go shopping, being “self-conscious” about having breasts of different sizes, as well as the negative body impact associated with losing weight: “My breasts were so saggy, and now they're full and perky again,” one woman said.

The other women in the conversations all responded with comments on how “amazing” the women look after getting breast enhancement surgery, reinforcing the point that body insecurities can be fixed by surgery.

Some of the women appeared to be under the age of 25, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted, and so could appeal, and be of relevance, to young women and teenage girls.

While the ASA noted that the ad did not trivalise plastic surgery by featuring on-screen text warning viewers of the risks associated with surgery and the advising that decisions to undergo surgery “should not be undertaken lightly”, the ad was irresponsible in its representation of young women.

“We considered that the ad has disproportionately emphasised the women’s negative feelings and the impact that had had on them. It had suggested that women who did not have a particular body type should not feel confident and comfortable with their bodies in public,” the ASA wrote.

“We were therefore concerned that the ad might encourage viewers, particularly young women and teenage girls, to think about and dwell on their own insecurities with their bodies, and to question whether they too felt self-conscious about their bodies and whether they too felt comfortable wearing bikinis in public or wearing any clothes that they wanted,” it added.

The ASA ruled that the ad was likely to cause harm to those under 18, and has banned the ad from appearing again. MYA Cosmetics Surgery have been warned against advertising surgery in a way that focuses on people’s negative perceptions of their bodies again.

It’s the latest example of irresponsible advertising of plastic surgery after an ad by Transform - which featured the testimonial of a 21-year-old blogger who had undergone breast enhancement surgery - was banned by the advertising watchdog last year for the same reasons.

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