A new campaign by U.K. baby goods retailer Mothercare celebrates women's real post-birth bodies, showing c-section scars, stretchmarks and baggy skin in a bid to tackle unrealistic ideals.
The campaign, by Mcgarrybowen London, consists of images of 10 real-life mothers by photographer by Sophie Mayanne, who in 2017 pledged not to digitally manipulate skin in her work. “The images depict the raw and incredibly emotional experience of childbirth. The aim is for mums of all shapes and sizes to be able to identify with these photos in one way or another, and to feel more confident with their imperfections,” says Mayanne in a statement.
The campaign was borne from London's City Hall and Transport for London "Women We See" competition, in which it was the runner-up. The contest was launched in July last year to encourage advertisers to create more positive and inclusive campaigns, after research by University College London revealed that Londoners didn’t feel represented by most of the advertising they saw around the capital. The images will be showcased across social and on TfL’s network.
Research commissioned to support this campaign reveals that over 80% of U.K. mothers have admitted comparing their post-baby bodies to unrealistic ideals. A quarter feel the most pressure from media and almost half feel the need to stack up to celebrities, while 90% of women in the 18-25 age group expect their bodies to compete with celebrities and what they see in the media. More than half of mothers on social media are found to use apps/filters on photos of themselves to hide things about their appearance that they don’t like.
Liz Day, parenting consultant at Mothercare, says in a statement: “We hope that these honest photos showcase the diverse reality of the post-birth body and offer reassurance for mums that every body is beautiful and unique. From surgical scars to stretch marks, we want to celebrate and support–through our work with charities NCT and Pandas--the true journey of motherhood and that includes the physical changes to the body.”