An Ad that Was Meant to Promote Positive Body Image Has Been Labelled Pornographic

A cheeky ad from Lush Cosmetics has been deemed pornographic.

In August, the environmentally-friendly skincare company rolled out a campaign to promote both their package-free products and body-positivity. The combo of environmental and body image awareness should have gone over well, right?

Well, not so much.

The ad features members of the company’s staff – AKA real women – who opted to proudly strip down for the campaign, which was aptly called “Go Naked.” One image features four women of varying sizes from behind, who are casually embracing. Two of the females have their hands draped on another women’s butt cheek. The text reads: “We prefer to go naked…Like over 100 of our products.” Another ad features a naked woman in a bed of biodegradable, edible, packaging pellets, and is accompanied by text that reads, “Good things come in smart packaging.”

The ads ran through August and September both online and in 28 of the company’s retail stores. For the most part, the ads were met with a positive reception.

Unfortunately, it was all too much to handle for some, and they took their complaints to ad watchdog Advertising Standards Board (ABS). The complaints ranged from the fact that the ads were displayed at the eye-level of children and the whole women touching women thing, to the fact that it featured unnecessary, gratuitous nudity.

Apparently, the ads were deemed pornographic.

The thing is, we’ve all seen way racier. Compare the ad to those made for PETA, which feature an assortment of sexy, naked celebrities who claim that they’d rather go naked than wear fur. It’s literally the exact same concept. In fact, the PETA ads could be even racier to some.


Call me crazy, but it seems that the only reason the Lush ad is generating so much controversy is that it features women who don’t have what society has deemed typically attractive bodies. Well, that and the fact that they involve – gasp – women touching women. Regular women at that; not airbrushed models or celebrities.

The horror, right?

So, apparently it’s ok for celebrities to bare it all in sexy photo shoots that turn into billboards and spreads, but not for the average female? Because that’s the message I’m getting. Even if the PETA ads weren’t all “at the eye-level” of children, they certainly were in view. Earlier this year, Pink’s “Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur Ad” was erected on a 90-foot billboard.

Personally, I would much rather my future daughter see images of real, unedited women in advertisements, than the airbrushed models I grew up with and who we continue to see in racy ads to this day.

In a time when we’ve seem to made strides in the body image department – in everything from featuring fuller-figured models in Fashion Week shows to the pages of Sports Illustrated – the reaction to the ad seems like a setback to me.

The good news is that they were able to sustain a lengthy shelf-life, and were only pulled a week before the campaign was scheduled to end.