KENNESAW, Ga. -- A local lingerie store swapped advertisements featuring thin models for women of different colors, sizes and abilities. Now, they say, in a "body shaming" move, they're being told to take down the ads.
"When I look at this ad campaign on our windows, I see me, I see someone I can relate to," LiviRae co-owner Cynthia Decker said.
Livi Rae Lingerie has been in business for seven years. They've gained a passionate following and national reputation for finding solutions for hard-to-fit women: women recovering from mastectomies, women with disabilities, women of every shape and size imaginable. That reputation (and the traffic through their Kennesaw store) skyrocketed in 2013 when their reality show "Double Divas" chronicled their day-to-day operations.
The best friend duo said said they’ve never had any problems with any ad campaigns put up in their windows until their latest one. They shared photos of previous ads outside their store showing professional models in lingerie.
The new ads show women in similar outfits of bras and panties. The only apparent difference? They don't look like typical models. The window displays features women of color, a woman in a wheelchair and women of different sizes.
"We did this campaign to promote body positivity and that when you come in here it's a judgment-free zone," said LiviRae CEO Molly Hopkins.
Christy Foster is one of the women featured in the campaign.
"It took a lot, and I'm sure it took a lot for every single girl up there to overcome their fears and feel confident," she said. The request to take down the ads was "kind of a kick in the face, a slap in the face. It's very hurtful."
The store’s owner said their landlord told them the display was in poor taste and asked that the ads be taken down.
“OK, so it’s inappropriate. Why? Is it because I’m disabled? Is it because I’m curvy, or is it because I’m black,” asked Nickee Lee, a brand ambassador for the store. “Which one is it? Tread lightly, because all of those reasons are inappropriate.”
The property manager, Westwood Financial, provided 11Alive’s Kaitlyn Ross with a copy of the lease, and said it’s all spelled out that advertisements have to be approved ahead of time, and they have discretion to decide what’s in poor taste.
"In the seven years that we've been in this location we've never had to have approval for any ad we put up," Hopkins said. "It's Kennesaw, and it's Georgia, and it's real, and it's women and it's us."
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