Spanish government wants all body types on the beach

Spain's government is seeking to dump the "summer body" myth with a new campaign which challenges stereotypical beauty standards for women. Unfortunately, the launch has been marred by controversy due to image rights issues.

spain body positivity campaign
The campaign has also sparked controversy over image rights used by artist Arte Mapache in the illustration, prompting her to issue an apology for using models' likenesses without permission. Poster: Spanish Ministry of Equality

A new campaign entitled “Summer is Ours too” (el verano también es nuestro) was launched on social networks this week, aiming to challenge perceived beauty standards and, in particular, to free women from the social pressure, boosted by magazines and ad campaigns, to be slim.

The campaign poster shows a diverse group of women, one with large tattoos, another with pink hair.

One of the women in the beach scene has had a mastectomy and is topless.

Another is proudly displaying hairy armpits and legs.

The Women’s Institute, an organisation directly dependent on the Ministry of Equality, is behind the campaign and tweeted that “bodies are diverse, free of gender stereotypes, and occupy all spaces. Summer belongs to us too. Free, equal and diverse”.

The “Summer is Ours too” hashtag has been circulating in recent days, at a time when websites, magazines and advertisements are, like every year, championing “operation bikini” or the “summer body”.

Cayo Lara, former head of the United Left coalition, is among those who have expressed disagreement with the campaign.

Responding to Equality Minister Irene Montero, who had just tweeted about the campaign (above), Lara said that “a problem has been created where there was none”.

The far-left Podemos party, junior partner in Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s minority coalition government, stated on its official site; “If bodies bother you, you can always stay at home and tweet, no problem”.

The campaign has also sparked controversy over image rights used by artist Arte Mapache in the illustration, prompting her to issue an apology for using models’ likenesses without permission.

The British model Nyome Nicholas-Williams was unaware her image had been used until one of her followers on Instagram alerted her.

“It is just a reminder that as a black woman my body is still policed and as women in general our bodies are still not ours,” she said, telling that neither Spain’s Ministry of Equality, nor the artist, had contacted her about the illustration.

Sian Lord, one of the other women whose photo was used without permission, had her prosthetic leg photoshopped out and replaced with hairy legs. She shared a video in which she explained how not only her image rights being breached, but the fact that her prosthetic leg had been edited out for body positivity campaign, had made her “so angry she was literally shaking”.

The typography used by Arte Mapache for the poster was also taken without paying for its copyright.

“Given the – justified – controversy over the image rights in the illustration, I have decided that the best way to make amends for the damages that may have resulted from my actions is to share out the money I received for the work and give equal parts to the people in the poster,” the artist said.

Arte Mapache said she had never intended to “abuse” the models’ images, and had only sought to demonstrate how great an inspiration they had been,  The Guardian reported.






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Spain postpones its EuroMed summit as PM still has Covid

A summit grouping nine southern European countries that was due to take place in Alicante on Friday has been postponed because Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has continued to test positive for Covid-19, his office said Thursday.

Spain postpones its EuroMed summit as PM still has Covid

The EuroMed 9, which groups Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, was to have gathered in the southeastern city of Alicante on September 30th.

Sánchez, who was to host the summit, had on Sunday confirmed having Covid, and by Thursday he was still testing positive, his office said.

“This morning, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez took a diagnostic test and was still positive for Covid-19,” it said.

“As a precaution, the decision has been taken to postpone the MED-9 summit which was going to be held in Alicante tomorrow.”

It did not give a new date for the summit.

Sánchez tested positive several days after flying back from the UN General Assembly in New York.

He has since suspended much of his agenda but has continued attending events online.

Nine heads of state and government had been due to attend Friday’s summit, among them French President Emmanuel Macron and outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU council President Charles Michel were also due to attend for a summit focused on the energy crisis facing Europe as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The EuroMed group was created in 2016 to strengthen the cooperation between Mediterranean and southern EU member states.