Diversity In Lingerie

Recently, some other bloggers and I have been thinking about diversity in the world of lingerie. At the moment, it is extremely rare to see full-bust lingerie modelled by anyone who does not fit the usual mould – namely white, young, able-bodied, feminine, conventionally attractive, moderately curvy, slim cis women. There is little to no representation of women of colour, plus size women, women with visible disabilities, older women, women with other body types, trans women, women with body hair, or women with scars/cellulite/stretch marks. For this reason, we would like to start a campaign: one asking for Diversity In Lingerie.

#DiversityInLingerie

#DiversityInLingerie

We would like to encourage lingerie-wearers of ALL bodies and backgrounds to join in with this. As a white, able-bodied, hourglassy cis woman in her 20′s, I would say bodies similar to mine are already fairly well represented, so I am not participating to ask for more models that look like me. By participating you can show the lingerie industry that, yes, you would buy lingerie from a diverse group of models, not just the ones currently shown. To be clear, this is nothing against the body types currently shown – all women are real women, and all bodies are good bodies. Rather, we would like to see a bigger range of models, so that ALL people can see someone they can relate to and identify with when looking for lingerie.

Jessica Abidde (Kiss Me Deadly)

Jessica Abidde (Kiss Me Deadly)

What really sticks out to me is that there is a huge discrepancy between everyday women and the average lingerie model. 14% of women in the UK are POC, but less than 7% of Bravissimo‘s items are currently modelled by POC on their website, and Freya and Panache‘s latest collections are modelled almost exclusively by white women. The average women’s waist size in the UK is around 33 inches, but on Brastop‘s selection of new styles, 95% of the sets shown are modelled by women with undoubtedly smaller waists. When it comes to older women, women with visible disabilities, trans women, or women with body hair, representation is basically non-existent.

Kelly Knox (Britain's Missing Top Model)

Kelly Knox (Britain’s Missing Top Model)

Starting from now, if you would like to join the campaign, just take a picture of yourself alongside the hashtag #DiversityInLingerie. It doesn’t have to be in lingerie or even include your face – you can be fully clothed, in your undies, whatever you like. Then, post it on as much social media as you can and make sure you type the hashtag in the text accompanying your post. You can also email it to June at Braless in Brasil to put on her blog, or feel free to add it to my (or another blogger’s) facebook page or to send it anonymously through a message. The more people participating the better!

Pitcha (Chrysalis Lingerie)

Pitcha (Chrysalis Lingerie)

Finally, here are some amazing articles that discuss the importance of diversity and representation in the lingerie industry far better than I ever could:

Throughout today, other bloggers will be coming out with their own posts and pictures, so make sure to check out Braless In Brasil’s post for the links! What do you think? Will you be participating?

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Founder and main author of Bras and Body Image. Anna is a Maths student, feminist, and bra-fitting enthusiast based in the UK.

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20 thoughts on “Diversity In Lingerie

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  3. I’m going to hold off, I think. While I’m definitely plus size and possessed of stretch marks, I’m also younger, white, reasonably hourglassy, cis, and without a physical disability that would be apparent from a photo. (And, if I’m being 100% honest with myself, endo bloat is making me not want to take any pics for the next few days or so.)

    But I do think this is a fabulous idea and am going to signal boost it now. :)

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  6. I’m not comfortable with my image on the internet in my lingerie, but I’d certainly love to see some images of lingerie being modeled by women with stretch marks or who were older.
    We don’t stop buying it after we have kids (or don’t – because not all stretch marks are from that) and we don’t stop buying it after we age. In fact, often we buy it more because we have more financial security.
    But it makes me feel like i lost something every time i see myself with my striped tummy now, because i never see it anywhere.
    Curvy Kate even put a cartoon up on it’s facebook once saying “Your Body Is Not Ruined, You’re Goddamn Tiger Who Earned Her Stripes” but all i could think of was their hypocrisy since not one of their models shown has even a blemish on their skin.

    • Thank you for your comment :) You don’t have to be in lingerie or even show your face if you want to participate, a headless and/or fully-clothed picture is fine! The more people participating the better, regardless of what you’re wearing :)

      I think CK are better than many other brands for diversity – their latest collection had around 14% of the pieces modelled by a WOC, which is more representative of the population than any of the other big lingerie brands. However, CK is an odd situation as their models are chosen by the public – there are SIAB contestants who are plus size, or who have visible stretch marks/scars etc, but so far most winners have had a very similar look. Their current models are, of course, stunning, but I would really love to see more diversity in the entrants who go on to model for CK.

      • I’m 19,I have oddles of stretch marks,am sadly very prone to them.I have a skin rash I am working on clearing up and oddly I think it caused even more of them.This is one of the things that stopped me from entering this year’s CK’s contest.Another more important reason is that I need to work on my self esteem cause I know that even the most gorgeous person entering may still get some nasty comments as some people simply are never pleased!
        I did find a cream that seems to help fade the marks and at least helps with the pain of them,so I’m hoping with continued use they will be much better.
        So..maybe next year I’ll enter.We will see.

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  9. Your picture resonates with me because it reminds me of my recent statistical analysis of our sales. Our customer base is composed of at least 40% POC, and yet the options for different skin tones are so poor. Furthermore, we’re looking at best-selling sizes in the 32-36 band size range, which is a far cry from many of the models used. I really can’t think of a single manufacturer we carry that does anything with age, disability, or trans* either, but hopefully, this campaign will help inspire change for the future.

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  15. I was just discussing this with a friend a few days ago. I was looking for plus-size lingerie and amazed at HOW MANY of the models were anything but plus size! Seriously?! I’m supposed to buy plus-sized lingerie based on how it fits a curvy, tiny-waisted, flat stomach model who happens to have large breasts?? No. I want to see how it may look on someone like ME!

    I have a couple orders coming in the mail….I’ll contribute after I receive my order.

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