Poll Context: The newly elected mayor of London’s call for a ban on public ads that show scantily clad women has critics complaining the move has more to do with his Muslim roots than his concerns about “body-shaming.”
Sadiq Khan, who became the city’s first Muslim mayor in May, called for a ban on ads showing women in bikinis in a letter published in the Guardian, saying images such as the controversial “Beach Body Ready” one used by Protein World send a harmful message.
“As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies,” Khan wrote. “It is high time it came to an end.”
The mayor is establishing a committee to make sure ads on subways and buses don’t offend.
The city’s mass transit system, Transport for London, will create an “Advertising Steering Group” in conjunction with the advertising companies to ensure that on buses and subways “reflect London’s diversity,” according to the mayor’s office.
The move is not sitting well with critics who believe it is an accommodation to Muslim sensibilities. In strict Islamic society, women are supposed to dress “modestly,” which can mean anything from a head scarf to a full burka with only eye slits.
“Muslim mayor banned ads with bikini-clad women on TFL. Stand by for adverts for burkinis,” tweeted Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins, a fierce critic of the increasing influence of fundamentalist Islam on British culture.
Others tweeted that the mayor should also ban ads regarding erectile dysfunction and even weight loss products if he is serious about ensuring ads don’t offend the general public.