Five photos that sparked body image debates

Body image is constantly being debated but there are some photographs that have caused intense discussion about the aesthetic ideals we impose on ourselves and others.
Ahead of the BBC's series on body image, here are five of those images that sparked discussion.
t was hailed by some as a radical idea - use "real" women with real curves instead of models to advertise beauty products
The Dove Real Beauty campaign was launched in 2004 and sales soared as women apparently identified with the variation in body shapes. The skincare brand's campaign had the stated aim of encouraging women to feel more confident about their bodies.
Teacher Emma Darwish (far right in the image above) appeared in the original campaign after responding to an advert in Time Out magazine. At the time of the launch she was lecturing at an FE college.

The body beautiful

"I was about to teach 16-17-year-olds vocal technique in a studio and right outside was a picture of me grinning in my underwear. I got a number of second glances and remarks from fellow lecturers and students over the next few weeks, but it was always good humoured and positive."

Although she felt a little self-conscious on the day of the shoot, appearing in "unflattering" underwear, Darwish would like to see more real women represented in advertising campaigns and fashion magazines.
"We are constantly bombarded with media images that are simply unattainable to the majority of women," says Darwish. "Most worryingly is the effect these images are having on our youth."
Some pundits noted at the time that Dove could have been accused of being hypocritical, celebrating diverse beauty but at the same time marketing a "firming" cream to try to tackle cellulite.
But there were those who said the campaign served a useful purpose even though parent company Unilever also marketed products like Axe, and others, using much more stereotypical notions of beauty.

Josh Sundquist

You may have come across the image of 28-year-old former Paralympic ski racer Josh Sundquist on Twitter. It's the ultimate before-and-after shot.
On the left you have a downcast looking man in an ill-lit room, while on the right you have a grinning man with an almost ludicrously chiselled physique.
The photograph has prompted much discussion over its provenance, with Photoshop "experts" suggesting it must be fake.
It's something that frustrates Sundquist.
Diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer when he was nine years old, Sundquist had his left leg amputated a year later. As a child he felt so self-conscious he was afraid to go to a public swimming pool in case other people stared at him.
After he retired from skiing, Sundquist wanted to lose a few pounds and entered the Body for Life challenge, a contest which requires entrants to take before and after photographs. He spent 12 weeks working out before posing for the "after" picture.
"Maybe what is interesting about my Body for Life picture is that in terms of fitness I have come close to the ideal of what people imagine a male physique should look like while at the same time missing one fourth of the limbs that you are supposed to have," says Sundquist.
Although the image was taken in 2006, it has seen a surge of popularity in the last 12 months as blogs re-discover it.
"The comments you get most frequently are people saying, 'wow if this guy can do it with one leg, if he can get in that good a shape then I have no excuses with two legs," says Sundquist. "So I think it's really been a big inspiration to people."
Sundquist has responded to those in the online community who argue that the image must have been Photoshopped.
"Everyone says 'oh it's fake, he doesn't really have one leg, or there's no way someone can make that kind of physical transformation'," says Sundquist, who is now a motivational speaker.
"To be honest I kind of think that some people look at it and they are like, this is so unbelievable, it's too good to be true, and in some ways they don't want to admit that it is a possibility for a person to do that," says Sundquist, "because if it was then they might have a responsibility to get in really good shape themselves."


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