If you're looking for the biggest difference in how America and Europe handle fashion, it might just take one glance at a newsstand. Increasingly, the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority has been cracking down on what passes across the pond. More than not, that means policing ads that idealize unrealistic images of beauty or objectify women.
The latest ad to be flagged is for Yves Saint Laurent and features 18-year-old model Kiki Willems stretched out across a floor. The problem? The combination of her pose and the lighting "drew particular focus to the model’s chest, where her rib cage was visible and appeared prominent, and to her legs, where her thighs and knees appeared a similar width..."
The ASA's decision to ban the ad isn't necessarily surprising, as their neighbors France have taken an even stricter approach to banning ultra-thin models. This past April, the country passed a bill that requires models to have a body mass index of greater than 18 to apply for jobs. Plus, they implemented severe consequences for any lawbreakers: Casting directors or companies who hire models that don't meet that standard could be imprisoned for up to six months or slapped with hefty fines.
More than not, the stories about the British ASA's ad bans have been centered around the country's resistance to sexy ads like Rihanna's Rogue perfume campaign and Cara Delevingne's recent Tom Ford ad. This incident, however, is one of the few times the organization has made headlines by cracking down on fashion ads for promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, but it's not the first time by any means.
Per the ASA's findings, the YSL ad cannot appear again "in its current form." The ASA also urges advertisers to "ensure that the images in their ads were prepared responsibly," which sounds like good advice, not just for British advertisers but everyone.