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London mayor’s tube ad ban ignites discussion over censorship, body image in advertising

Newly-elected London mayor Sadiq Khan with his wife Saadiya, family and aides.
Newly-elected London mayor Sadiq Khan with his wife Saadiya, family and aides.
Mary Turner/Getty Images

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In one of his first big moves as mayor of London, the newly-elected Sadiq Khan announced a ban on ads that he says promote body-shaming by depicting “unrealistic or unhealthy body shape.”

In a statement, Khan said “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. It is high time it came to an end."

The ban, which will apply to ads in London’s public transportation system, is getting a lot of attention, both from those who say it is a positive step forward in spreading the message of body positivity, while others say it’s an abuse of power and censorship, and that Khan should not get to decide what other people find offensive.

London is not the first place that has created such a ban. The French government passed laws last year that was designed to encourage modeling agencies not to hire models who are unhealthily thin. Israel has also banned underweight models.

Do you agree with Mayor Khan’s position?


Lizzie Crocker, reporter at The Daily Beast; her op-ed on the ad ban is titled “Stop infantilizing women over seeing ‘beach body’ ads”

Jessica Brown, freelance journalist who writes for publications including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and VICE; Her op-ed in The Independent on the ad ban is titled “Sadiq Khan is right to ban objectifying ads from the tube - we never consented to this sexist wallpaper”