Friday, January 24, 2014

Now, THIS is a bold lingerie ad

Photo from Forever Yours "Bra School". H/T ABC

Elly Mayday is a Canadian model who, at the age of 25, is living with a rare form of ovarian cancer. A year ago, she was the star model for Forever Yours Lingerie of Vancouver. However, since her diagnosis last summer, her treatment has changed her appearance considerably and now she is... still the star model for Forever Yours Lingerie of Vancouver.

Via Forever Yours

Sonya Perkins, co-founder of Forever Yours Lingerie, told ABC news that she first hired Ms. Mayday for a Valentine's Day shoot in 2013. "At the time, she was a size 14 and had a nice bust and a small waist and big, full hips and behind," she said. "We wanted to represent that look." 

While Ms. Perkins was initially uneasy with Ms. Mayday's determination to keep working in front of the camera, she stood by her model. And now it is paying off.

"In the lingerie industry, it's not something you do," Elly Mayday explained. "It's all about long hair and big breasts and arched backs. But it's important to show what real women look like underneath their clothes. Most people have some issue they are dealing with."

Now, both model and brand are making headlines around the world. And the Elly Mayday fanpage on Facebook has almost 84,000 followers.

On posting the Forever Yours online ad on her page, Ms. Mayday was effusive in her appreciation of the support she's receiving from the lingerie brand and its customers:
It's a wonderful thing to have such caring people to work with. They have supported me through thick and thin — literally— sickness and health and are still with me today.  
As you can see this photo represents more than just a sports bra. Its represent the acceptance we all need to have for one another as well as ourselves. Thank you Sonya & Brian. Getting to know both of you has been a true blessing and you will always have a place in my heart for what you have done for me.  
Over 7,000 dollars was given to me to help me pay for unexpected costs, like my needles this week that cost $1000 not covered by provincial health care. I bought a new juicer and have been able to afford to eat organically as well. just to list a few things.. 
$2 from every pair of underwear sold as well as in-store and online donations. What an incredible gift. I am so blessed♥
I can never thank you enough for the support.pun intended
So, while American Eagle is getting virtual hugs and high fives for its commitment to not photoshopping its typical-looking models,  elsewhere there are brands and models who are willing to show us what it really takes to do something about the fashion industry's body image problem.

Update: Apologies to Sonja Perkins for initially calling her "Jenkins." It was an error compounded from the ABC article.

78 comments:

  1. I am so thankful and proud of both you and the company that is bold enough to do the right thing. Bless you.

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  2. get well, god speed, and I don't really care about what ad puts you in what. You deserve to live, experience, and be yourself.

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    1. I agree!! She's a human being and deserves to have a life and be who she is not what someone else thinks she should be or what they think she should look like.

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  3. Proud of the beauty and the strength and the love of sharing your story. You are beautiful and I wish you health and happiness. Christine Hutchinson,in Oregon.

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  4. This, as far as I'm concerned, a real woman. The scars are beautiful marks of survival. Good luck, and thanks for sharing.

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    1. She is a beauty, and brave, to be sure. But all women are real women, if they identify as a woman. Period. Some scars don't show. Some waste away from cancer. Some battle things you could never see, clothed or unclothed.
      Do not belittle this gorgeous woman's amazing work to show how every woman can be gorgeous and her courage by making this another woman vs woman debate.

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    2. Well said Maudelynn!

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    3. Although I agree with you Maudelynn, I think what she meant is that these are real women, not photo shopped women. Those models in VS and other magazines/catalogs are real women but the photos aren't really them. They add/remove flaws, weight, imperfections etc.

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    4. As someone who has had both breasts removed, I can tell you that *for me* there was a period of time when not only did I not feel like a real woman, I didn't even feel like a real *mammal*. I felt reptilian, alien, outcast. I agree that all women are "real women", Maudelyn, but also that it's likely the comment was addressing the lack of photoshopping. Women (and men and groceries and hamburgers) are made to appear different from reality, and that appearance is touted as reality. We need to express ourselves carefully, to avoid the inverse labeling that occurs when we apply labels like "real", since the very fact of giving that label creates not one but two categories: the "real woman" and the opposite, the "lesser woman".

      Still, with all that said, it was a glorious day when I began to see myself as a "real woman" once more (and it had nothing to do with lingerie or any other kind of ads). I came back from darkness and despair. I was alive again. I became, in that sense, real.

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    5. Suzana, my Grandmother went through this and described the same feeling. She survived, I'm so glad you did as well. She described the feeling of being an alien.

      And, on a different note, I'm glad someone brought up that food and hamburgers are photoshopped or simply built to look a certain way that is nothing like what you actually get. Everything in advertising is exaggerated and skewes reality.

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    6. I think they meant "real woman" in the same way everyone is using the phrase now. A real woman means an over weight woman. No disrespect, im not against any body type Because it truly does take all kinds to make this world go around.. Some woman are lucky enough to be able to gain weight and some cant. Im tired of all this "real woman"crap. There is no body type that makes any woman any more real or Beautiful than the next. We need to be telling women that they are beautiful because of who they r. This woman is strong and amazing no matter if she weighed 90lbs or 300.

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    8. Except for ridiculously photoshopped pictures all models are real women, the problem is that a real women encompasses many different types many of which you never see in advertisements; hence the message that advertisers are giving the public is that a truly "real" woman is the one that we present you with.

      Sometimes we get hung up on semantics when we're all very much aware of what the actual deal is. Point is this company has done the good and right thing and we should all applaud it.

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    9. All women are real women.

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  5. This is both heartwarming and empowering. I hope Ms. Mayday continues to enjoy success in her profession and in kicking cancer's butt. Forever Yours should rightfully be applauded.

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  6. A 'real woman'. Please don't help women's causes by perpetuating patriarchy. Every woman is a real woman. No list of criteria necessary.

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    1. I was just about to say this! I hate hearing this. Some people are just skinny. That doesn't mean they aren't real. Every woman is real and every woman deserves to be represented, because we are all beautiful no matter thin or curvy.

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    2. She is a real woman cause some so called woman are little girls. They starve themselves to be then or stop modeling cause they have a scar. Females all over the world use photoshop to change there appearance, they are not woman they are girls. Woman are proud of every scar inside or out.

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    3. Insulting smaller women by calling them girls does not make sense to me. And no matter what they may do, starve themselves or whatever, that does not make them any less of a woman. Every person has their life battles. Just because you don't see the whole picture doesn't mean they are any less of a person.

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    4. I'm so tired of hearing this "real women" BS. "Real Women Have Curves", "Real Women Don't Wear Size Two". Every woman, small or large or in-between, is as "real" as the next. There is no need to denigrate smaller women in order to praise our larger sisters. We are all people, and sneering at anyone based on their size or appearance is wrong, period.

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    5. Very simply put, what was meant by the term 'real women' was an unphotoshopped body. I am a firm believer in the philosophy that all women are real women...thick, thin, curvy, fat, skinny, tall, short...you get the point. I am totally against the us against them thing that is happening right now. I think we all need to lift each other up and empower each other as women, rather than tearing each other down.

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    6. Im sure they meant it the same way everyone else means it, a "real woman" is a curvy woman. Ive had 2 kids and i cant help being skinny. Anyone wants to tell me im not a real woman because if my weight is pretty superficial. If they meant not photo shopped they would have said "a real picture of a woman". Its like telling a man that hes not a real man because his hair is thinning, he cant help it, it just genetics

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    7. By the way, thanks for the hit on anorexia. It's real disorder, jackass. The people who starve themselves to death haven't done so on purpose - it can get out of control. Get off the internet until you can learn some respect and empathy.

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  7. I would buy their stuff for the following reasons: to help donate to the model, because they chose to use a real-looking woman for their ads, and because they still hired her as a model during her battle with cancer. This woman has the same scar that I have, that I have always been ashamed of since getting. Thank you for helping chip away a little at that shame by using her as your model. It really kind of made my day to see this. May she recover swiftly, and never take for granted her access to safe, universal healthcare.

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    1. Every woman is real. Just not every body-type is equally represented in the fashion industry.

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    3. Removed previous comment because only half went through;

      I am sorry you felt ashamed of your body, I am sure you are gorgeous. But don't shame other women by saying things like "real looking" etc. That is shaming women with different bodies than yours, and miss mayday's. If something hurts you, why would you do it other women? Stand strong with your sisters, together we can change all this real non real body shaming for any woman crud that goes on.

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    4. women who are photoshopped to death don't exactly look real. this is about advertising, not so much about the real world. because advertising likes to remove itself from the real world.

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    5. They would have said "a real picture of a woman" not "a real woman" if they were just talking about not being photo shopped

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  8. This is a Henry Ford moment. Remember when Henry Ford paid his workers more so they could afford his cars? He seems like a great guy and a brilliant businessman. These ads catch your eye the same way as when you see a commercial with a dog driving a car. We see the standard type of model so much anymore that they rarely catch our eye. This model does. Unlike a dog driving a car, where we feel slimed in giving the ad our attention, these ads make you glad you paid it attention and you have a positive visceral reaction to the product. Brilliant!

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    1. ...but he was a Nazi, though. He didn't get that medal (the Nazi Grand Cross of the German Eagle) for his business acumen. http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/henry-ford-receiving-grand-cross-german-eagle-nazi-officials-1938/

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    2. Kept the trains on time.

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  9. What a gorgeous, brave, woman! I hope she recovers quickly and continues to show how diversity is such a beautiful thing and all women have a loveliness about them because of their uniqueness and it helps more women of all types embrace their amazing selves. xo xo

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  10. damn that girl is sexy

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  11. After spending the past 20 years not really recovering from stretched skin from my children, I am really glad to see someone modeling underwear that gives me a good idea what it might look like on me! I accept my body but it is difficult to even think about lingerie with my belly flab all flopping around. You just don't see pictures of models with this kind of body. And shoppers put themselves in the place of those models, and for years that just hasn't worked for me.

    As cancer treatments continue to be successful, and as our food continues to get weird and maybe cause some kinds of cancer, women who are undergoing chemo are just going to be more present in our lives. I am really glad for the support this company gave this woman, both emotionally and financially.

    I would try out some of their clothes just to show that I think they are important to have around, that they deserve to get a chance for my business. Then if I liked what I bought I'd buy more!

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    1. I really appreciate ur comment. Thanks for not putting anyone down because they are different from you. I wish there were more ppl like u in the world.

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    2. Well said! As a fellow flabby belly-stretch marks survivor, I miss my bikini body, but I'm grateful to be healthy and happy. Perhaps, someday, society will move past appearance and appreciate what really counts in this life.

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  12. Oh look, another corporation exploiting womens bodies to sell a product! Hooray, Capitalism as usual!

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    1. I'm not sure how else you'd advertise lingerie, Dyad. It feels a lot less exploitative than the usual fare from larger brands because the model is shown exactly as she appears in real life (aside from makeup). I think that's worthy of kudos. At the very least, it's USEFUL to potential customers who are not a size zero, as most professional models are.

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    2. Okay, so every business that sells clothing, accessories, or anything else to be worn on the human body should take out a non-photo, text ad that says "WE SELL KNICKERS AND WHATNOT" in Times New Roman. Got it. Or we should just put some dudes in these ads, to avoid exploiting women, but still show what it looks like on A body, right? (Which would be eye-catching, I'll admit.)

      Or because the visual helps women picture the item on an actual body. Helps me. Especially if the model is shaped like me. Nobody's getting exploited here.

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    3. ^ Oh yeah~! Agreed

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  13. IMO, "real woman" here means "not photoshopped fake". I'm glad that this company has decided to show a real woman as she goes through real life. Thank you.

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  14. Sounds like she's treating cancer the right way... Cannabis. Good for her!

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  15. What a beautiful fxcking message to send. I am so happy that in my lifetime, women are working so hard to redefine, and broaden the perception of, beauty. Love love LOVE!

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  16. She is a badass! Lovely story and lovely model!

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    1. It's also poorly art directed. But still effective, eh?

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    2. Wow, good for you. Grammar police on this fabulous empowerment.

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    3. Excellent spot! And as long as she doesn't wear anything like that to the beach, she should be fine. Not something I want to see in real life but neat article, though.

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    4. Why not wear it to the beach??? That's the problem with society and why so many girls are messed up mentally about themselves. Who cares what ANYONE looks like? If you don't like how someone looks at the beach, don't look at her!! I wonder if you've missed the whole point of the article.....

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  18. ARGH, I thought this was just gonna be a crazy green haired girl lingerie ad, and now I'm all weepy.

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  19. Great Company! I am now going to buy some of their underwear!

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  20. One small detail: the owner of Forever Yours Lingerie is Sonya Perkins, not Jenkins :) Great article otherwise.

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    1. Thank you! It was ABC News' error. I'll correct it here.

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  21. It's not fair to insult American Eagle for using "typical-looking" models for their untouched campaign. The fact that they aren't using Photoshop should be celebrated. To degrade girls because they are "typical-looking" or "conventionally pretty" is just as wrong as degrading those who are not. All women of all sizes and looks should be celebrated as real women; even if the meaning here is supposed to be "untouched," AE's girls are just as real as Elly. American Eagle deserves their accolades, as does Forever Yours Lingerie.

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    1. No degradation involved, Hannah. It's just worth comparing the campaigns, since AE got so much fawning coverage just for **not** doing something which is common practice, but increasingly under consumer scrutiny.

      Please, read my coverage of the AE campaign before you judge so harshly: http://workthatmatters.blogspot.ca/2014/01/is-this-really-redefining-beauty.html

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  22. "a real woman" hellll noooo. I wouldnt buy nothing from that store! I would most certainly donate to the model but there is no reason to belittle any woman because what she looks like. Every mother, wife, coworker, student, business owner Is a REAL woman. So tired of seeing stuff like this

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    1. Reality is not "belittling." What do you suppose she was before she was a model? Likely a REAL woman.

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    2. And your double negative suggests you WILL, in fact, buy something from this store......only a matter of time, I guess.

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    3. "real woman" in this context means "not photoshopped"...

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  23. :3 This makes me happy: she has the same figure and scar as me (a scar which I've always considered unsightly and have always wanted to cover up and hence never wear a bikini, and a figure which I've always thought was not stereotypically beautiful enough to model with) and there she is being a badass lingerie model. Freakin' RAD,

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  24. THIS IS AWESOME !! Love to see this going on in the market. It has been a long time awaiting to happen .LOVED IT !!

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  25. as a female who works hard to keep a healthy weight, I do not care to see a body that looks like that. I won't be buying any of their products.

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    1. I feel so very sorry for you. I truly hope life doesn't hand you an unexpected card that knocks you flat on your butt.

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    2. Just because you're hopping on the brainwashed, patriarchy bandwagon doesn't mean the rest of us give 2 shits about your very narrow, very shallow, very self-centric point of view.
      I'm slender and eat clean and all that crap too. Know why? For health, but a lot of it is out of pure fear. I'd probably be *just* as healthy, maybe even more healthy, if I didn't have this voice nagging at the back of my head that being anything but slim is acceptable. If I could enjoy food a bit more, and relax a bit.
      I bet a part of you knows what I'm talking about. Most women have a fear of not being accepted for their appearance. And it's sad.
      Seeing other women of varying body types in ads, that are NOT Photoshopped into an impossibly perfect state makes me hopeful. Hopeful that sometime in the future, when I get old, it will be *ok*. Ok to gain a few pounds because it's natural. Ok to not be perfect.
      And ok to wear UNDERWEAR even if I'm not a size 0.

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  26. Selling reality vs selling fantasy.

    While the woman above is beautiful and the lingerie flattering, most people don't shop to enhance reality, they shop to escape from it.

    Noble, but the reality is people buy on emotion and justify it afterwards with "logic"... "I saved $100" < "logic"

    I believe the trick is making the reality, appear to be the fantasy, not the other way around, like is currently done.

    I can buy all the skinny jeans I want, two sizes too small. Doesn't make me better looking, like the fantasy, it makes me look unreasonable and disconnected and will largely feed my DISsatisfaction. Not the advertisers fault, but did they sell 2 pairs of skinny jeans, or did they sell a lifetime of skinny jeans.

    Sometimes American Capitalism is too fixated on what can I get now, not How Can I Create a Loyal Lifetime Client that will be my best advertising to the people in their sphere.

    Answer: Sell a reasonable fantasy.

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  27. I was all excited to support this company by buying an item for myself (I'm a man) or a partner but then I went to the men's section and what do I find there? Perfect six pack abs, impossibly sculpted, perfectly toned body. Yes it makes me hot looking at it but totally makes me not want to buy any of those items for myself. Looks like they got the memo on "real" women's bodies but failed to get the point about the average man's body. Or at least a slightly more expansive definition of what might be sexy.

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