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'Ralph Lauren has opportunity to set new industry standard' - Ossorio
Dec '09
The National Organization for Women in New York City, Filmmaker Darryl Roberts and supporters are calling for Ralph Lauren to immediately end its mass marketing of waif-like and sickly models in its advertising.

"If models can't catch a break, how can the rest of us hope to have a healthy self-image?" NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio said. "Starting at younger and younger ages, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and a preoccupation with appearance plague women and girls. Ralph Lauren and the advertising industry are complicit in making real women feel less sexy and less beautiful than they really are."

Ralph Lauren set off a stream of outrage in October, when it depicted model Filippa Hamilton in a clearly manipulated ad photo in which her head appeared wider than her waist. Hamilton's contract was terminated in April, and she claims that Lauren fired her because at 120 pounds and 5 foot, 10 inches, she was "overweight." Ralph Lauren said Hamilton's photo was mistakenly released, however, the designer continues to churn out ads depicting harmful images of distorted and emaciated women.

Negative images have a real and sometimes devastating impact on females. More than 80% of fourth grade girls have tried dieting. As many as 10 million women and girls suffer from an eating disorder in the United States, and it's clear that the constant stream of unrealistic images plays a big role.

In his recent documentary, America the Beautiful, filmmaker Darryl Roberts addresses the dangerous standards of beauty that pervade the modeling industry and their negative impact on everyday women. Roberts has been leading a campaign against Ralph Lauren and will speak at the protest.

"Yesterday the Advertising Standards Authority banned an ad featuring Former supermodel Twiggy in the UK for depicting an unrealistic beauty ideal," said filmmaker Darryl Roberts. "If Ralph Lauren is truly sorry for his past blunder, then we're asking him to step up and commit to expanding the scope of what's considered beautiful in his ads."

"Ralph Lauren has an opportunity to set a new industry standard," Ossorio said. "They can choose to promote images that depict women that are sexy and beautiful, but also healthy with realistic body proportions."

The National Organization for Women is the nation's largest organization working to advance women's rights and improve women's lives. The New York City Chapter of NOW, founded in 1966, is the largest chapter in the country with 5,000 members locally and 35,000 statewide. NOW-NYC works to protect reproductive freedom, end violence against women and eliminate discrimination.

Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation

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