- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2016

London’s first Muslim mayor is hitting the ground running with a ban on ads in the city that feature “unrealistic” body images.

Labor Party’s Sadiq Khan pledged before his May 7 election win to prohibit ads across Transport for London (Tfl) like those seen in a “beach body ready?” campaign by the company Protein World.

“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,” Mr. Khan said in a statement, BBC reported Monday.

The decision by Mr. Khan comes just months after the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) began looking for way to “proactively regulate” images of men and women.

“The mocking of women and men in non-stereotypical roles, the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles, and gender-specific marketing to children, […] and the presentation of an idealized or unrealistic body image are all issues that have gained considerable public interest,” ASA officials wrote June 6. “As a proactive regulator, we want to find out more about these issues and others to ensure we continue to be alive to and in tune with prevailing standards when interpreting and applying the rules.”

ASA’s investigation into Protein World’s London advertisements concluded in July 2015 that the company’s images were acceptable. Officials said the ads did not cause sufficient “offense” and “body shaming.”

Protein World’s “beach body ready?” ads drew nearly 400 complaints to ASA in 2015, BBC reported.

“What happened to free speech?” reader Sharene Kirchler asked on BBC London’s Facebook page. “What happened to not being offended by everything? Why is it a matter of state to decide when something so subjective is to be allowed or not?”

Mr. Khan’s ban will go into effect next month on buses, trains, and London’s subway system.

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