Avon has apologised and pulled its marketing materials for an anti-cellulite campaign after actor and activist, Jameela Jamil, took to Twitter to accuse it of abusing the body-positive movement.
The campaign appeared in a brochure for Avon's North American customers. The series of ads promoted its 'Smooth Moves Naked Proof' anti-cellulite cream as a tool to combat the condition that causes lumps and bumps over the body's surface.
The beauty brand has been accused of capitalising on people’s insecurities by presenting cellulite as a defect, rather than a normal body feature, which between 80-90% of women will experience in their lifetime.
In one ad, the copy reads 'dimples are cute on your face (not your thighs),' against the backdrop of a giggling, cellulite-free woman. Jamil called Avon up for “shaming women about age, gravity and cellulite. They’re inevitable.”
The tweet was retweeted over 11,000 times.
And yet EVERYONE has dimples on their thighs, I do, you do, and the CLOWNS at @Avon_UK certainly do. Stop shaming women about age, gravity and cellulite. They’re inevitable, completely normal things. To make us fear them and try to “fix”them, is to literally set us up for failure pic.twitter.com/78kqu3nHeE
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) January 19, 2019
In a stream of tweets targeting Avon's campaign, Jamil sharing another ad that featured the same clear skinned lady with the message 'every body is beautiful.' She criticised the ad, tweeting “every body is beautiful unless they have any “flaws” I guess." The ads have split opinion on social media, with one side criticising the other for being ‘oversensitive.’
Every body is beautiful, unless they have any “flaws” I guess. What a gross abuse of the body positive movement. I want you all to look out for this constant manipulation. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It’s everywhere. You are constantly being manipulated to self hate. pic.twitter.com/cUnV8N3lD8 — Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) January 19, 2019
The UK arm of Avon, who Jamil directed her criticism, said it would look into the matter further.
In response, Jamil called upon the UK branch to "publicly denounce this campaign or you will continue to fall under the umbrella of beauty industry companies that break women to sell to them products."
Avon’s official Twitter account for its USA operation responded to Jamil, saying the ad “was intended to be light-hearted and fun but we realise we missed the mark.”
In a public post across its social media channels, Avon apologised and told customers it was removing the campaign.
We hear you and we apologize. We messed up on our Smooth Moves Naked Proof messaging. We want to let you know that we are working diligently to remove this messaging from our marketing materials moving forward. We're on it. We love our community of women. pic.twitter.com/lUyK3EyfAy
— Avon (@AvonInsider) January 20, 2019
Jamil has been highly vocal on her opinions towards body positivity and is an outspoken advocate for feminist empowerment. Last month she wrote an op-ed for the BBC which called for Photoshop and airbrushing to be made illegal. In July, she openly criticised Flat Tummy Co, a company Kim Kardashian endorses. The food supplement company erected a large-scale billboard in Times Square, which featured a woman biting on a lollipop with the message: 'Girl, tell them to suck it.'
EVEN TIMES SQUARE IS TELLING WOMEN TO EAT LESS NOW? Have we actually gone mad? Why aren’t there any boys in the ad? Why is it fucking PINK? Because you feel men can look however they want? Their goals are to be successful. But ours are to just be smaller? Fuck off @FlatTummyCopic.twitter.com/douKKwedxf — Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) July 10, 2018
Jamil was quick to call-out the sexism inherent in the campaign, complaining that the absence of men implied that only women faced social stigma to achieve the perfect physique.