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Transport for London under fire for 'body-shaming' sign

Transport for London (TfL) has come under fire for a body-shaming message posted on one of its service information boards. The message, which read “During this heatwave please dress for the body you have not the body you want”, was posted as a “quote of the day” at Blackhorse Road Underground Station in north-east London. However after a picture of the sign was posted on Twitter, many people expressed their outrage at the “offensive” message.

Way to body shame @TfL pic.twitter.com/RopbvGsEPE[1][2]

— Michael Hawkes (@BeardedBakery) April 21, 2018[3]

“Way to body shame,” said Michael Hawkes, who posted an image of the sign on the social network.

His tweet was met with derision and outrage, with many people expressing their shock that such a message was posted.

I am so very tired of TfL wit and wisdom. Especially when neither is demonstrated.

— Alexandra Roumbas Goldstein (flentl) (@mokuska) April 21, 2018[4]


— Ban Hass (@BanHass) April 22, 2018[6]

“Ew well this is gross,” one person wrote. “Woah.

This sucks,” added another. TfL has since replied to Hawkes apologising and saying the message has been removed.

– Hi Michael. Sorry that this was put up at Blackhorse Road.

We’ve flagged it up to the station who’ve now removed the message. Thanks for letting us know about this. ^ JR

— Transport for London (@TfL) April 21, 2018[7]

A TfL spokesperson said: “We apologise unreservedly to customers who were offended by the insensitive message on the whiteboard at Blackhorse Road station. Our staff across the network share messages on these boards, but in this instance the message was clearly ill-judged and it has been removed.

An investigation is underway to establish who thought such an unacceptable message was a good idea, so that the appropriate action can be taken.” The sign comes almost two years after London mayor Sadiq Khan banned TfL from running adverts that promote unrealistic expectations about body image and health. The announcement came in the wake of Protein World’s controversial “Are you beach body ready?” adverts promoting its “weight loss collection” with a picture of a slim woman in a bikini.

We spoke to Protein World about their highly controversial ‘beach body ready’ ad: http://t.co/lEAzA7ASzC pic.twitter.com/AyyNoNZp9p[8][9]

— VICE UK (@VICEUK) April 28, 2015[10]

Although not banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, the advert received many complaints and was accused of “directly targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product”.

In recent years, it has become common for TfL staff to write messages on information boards that are designed to be witty, funny or inspirational. But this isn’t the first time efforts have backfired: earlier this year a sexist attempt at a joke was written at Colliers Wood station to mark the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote in the UK.

Is this supposed to be funny, @tfl? Well this humourless feminist is genuinely appalled.

Incredibly short-sighted & a waste of an opportunity for celebration. #Suffragette100 #everydaysexism #collierswoodstation pic.twitter.com/Mhz2BzQfyD[11][12][13][14][15]

— Evelyn Clegg (@Evie_tweeting) February 7, 2018[16]

It was not well received.


  1. ^ @TfL (twitter.com)
  2. ^ pic.twitter.com/RopbvGsEPE (t.co)
  3. ^ April 21, 2018 (twitter.com)
  4. ^ April 21, 2018 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ pic.twitter.com/38rZd52siE (t.co)
  6. ^ April 22, 2018 (twitter.com)
  7. ^ April 21, 2018 (twitter.com)
  8. ^ http://t.co/lEAzA7ASzC (t.co)
  9. ^ pic.twitter.com/AyyNoNZp9p (t.co)
  10. ^ April 28, 2015 (twitter.com)
  11. ^ @tfl (twitter.com)
  12. ^ #Suffragette100 (twitter.com)
  13. ^ #everydaysexism (twitter.com)
  14. ^ #collierswoodstation (twitter.com)
  15. ^ pic.twitter.com/Mhz2BzQfyD (t.co)
  16. ^ February 7, 2018 (twitter.com)

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