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Spanish government wants all body types on the beach

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Spanish government wants all body types on the beach
The campaign has also sparked controversy over image rights used by artist Arte Mapache in the illustration, prompting her to issue an apology for using models' likenesses without permission. Poster: Spanish Ministry of Equality

Spain's government is seeking to dump the "summer body" myth with a new campaign which challenges stereotypical beauty standards for women. Unfortunately, the launch has been marred by controversy due to image rights issues.

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A new campaign entitled "Summer is Ours too" (el verano también es nuestro) was launched on social networks this week, aiming to challenge perceived beauty standards and, in particular, to free women from the social pressure, boosted by magazines and ad campaigns, to be slim.

The campaign poster shows a diverse group of women, one with large tattoos, another with pink hair.

https://twitter.com/IreneMontero/status/1552215977164771329

One of the women in the beach scene has had a mastectomy and is topless.

Another is proudly displaying hairy armpits and legs.

The Women's Institute, an organisation directly dependent on the Ministry of Equality, is behind the campaign and tweeted that "bodies are diverse, free of gender stereotypes, and occupy all spaces. Summer belongs to us too. Free, equal and diverse".

The "Summer is Ours too" hashtag has been circulating in recent days, at a time when websites, magazines and advertisements are, like every year, championing "operation bikini" or the "summer body".

Cayo Lara, former head of the United Left coalition, is among those who have expressed disagreement with the campaign.

Responding to Equality Minister Irene Montero, who had just tweeted about the campaign (above), Lara said that "a problem has been created where there was none".

The far-left Podemos party, junior partner in Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's minority coalition government, stated on its official site; "If bodies bother you, you can always stay at home and tweet, no problem".

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The campaign has also sparked controversy over image rights used by artist Arte Mapache in the illustration, prompting her to issue an apology for using models' likenesses without permission.

The British model Nyome Nicholas-Williams was unaware her image had been used until one of her followers on Instagram alerted her.

"It is just a reminder that as a black woman my body is still policed and as women in general our bodies are still not ours," she said, telling Metro.co.uk that neither Spain’s Ministry of Equality, nor the artist, had contacted her about the illustration.

Sian Lord, one of the other women whose photo was used without permission, had her prosthetic leg photoshopped out and replaced with hairy legs. She shared a video in which she explained how not only her image rights being breached, but the fact that her prosthetic leg had been edited out for body positivity campaign, had made her "so angry she was literally shaking".

The typography used by Arte Mapache for the poster was also taken without paying for its copyright.

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“Given the – justified – controversy over the image rights in the illustration, I have decided that the best way to make amends for the damages that may have resulted from my actions is to share out the money I received for the work and give equal parts to the people in the poster,” the artist said.

Arte Mapache said she had never intended to “abuse” the models’ images, and had only sought to demonstrate how great an inspiration they had been,  The Guardian reported.

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