TIME Body Image

Thousands of People Want Victoria’s Secret to Apologize for ‘Perfect Body’ Ad

But can it make a difference?

More than 16,000 people have signed a U.K. petition asking Victoria’s Secret to apologize for an “irresponsible,” “body-shaming” ad.

The lingerie company sparked outrage for a new campaign celebrating “The Perfect ‘Body.'” The ad copy is a riff on the brand’s “Body” lingerie line, but since the slogan hovers above the supermodels’ bodies, people say it sends the wrong message.

Dear Kate, an underwear company “made by women for women,” insists that the lingerie industry as a whole can and should do better. “As if women need a reminder of our society’s homogenous definition of beauty, the ad features ten models with almost identical body shapes,” its website reads. “The creators of the ad probably didn’t think twice about the message it is sending, and to us, it’s irresponsible marketing.”

Here is Dear Kate’s alternative:

But can the petition incite change? Petition writers Frances Black, Gabriella Kountourides and Laura Ferris note that “we have yet to hear a single word from Victoria’s Secret! It can’t be much longer until they listen up and realise that they have some apologising to do.”

Victoria’s Secret did not reply to TIME’s request for comment.

But the “Perfect Body” campaign is in line with past marketing efforts. Victoria Secret’s previous “Love Your Body” campaign (which also incited backlash) provides a stark contrast to companies like Dove’s take on promoting an ideal body image.

Some companies just prefer companies opt to promote “perfect bodies” rather than “real beauty.”

TIME society

How the Average American Man’s Body Compares to Others Around The World

"When you look at the images side-by-side, you can really see the differences"

Pittsburgh-based digital artist Nickolay Lamm was on vacation in Catalonia, Spain, last year when he noticed something. “I think I’m being objective when I say that a lot of the people were just very fit,” he says. At least more fit than what he saw back home. And so Lamm decided to dive into body measurement statistics collected by organizations like the CDC to create models that represent the physique of the average man from different countries.

“Basically, I wanted to represent how we as a country are a little overweight when it comes to other countries,” he says. “Obesity is a huge issue, it costs our health care industry so much money, so I just wanted to create a simple way to illustrate something people probably know in the back of their minds, they just haven’t seen it all laid out so clearly.”

Nickolay Lamm

While the images first went public last year, they are making their rounds online again — right in time for Halloween. (A time when body image is at the back of people’s minds.)

Nickolay Lamm

“When you look at the images side-by-side, you can really see the differences,” Lamm says.

Nickolay Lamm
Nickolay Lamm
Nickolay Lamm

Lamm doesn’t know why exactly these images resonate with an audience, but people always seem surprised. “We see all these numbers and statistics,” he says, “but sometimes we just want to see it laid out.”

Nickolay Lamm

The artist is perhaps best known for creating the anti-Barbie. The soon-be-released Lammily doll is based on the average American woman’s proportions, rather than unattainable measurements that would make it hard for a real woman to walk or even just exist. He also hopes to create a male version of the doll after the product goes to market.

Lamm does note that scrutiny regarding body image is often directed toward women rather than men. “It’s interesting, I remember I was at a bar once and guys were comparing all the other women, but they kind of look like the images I made,” he says. “Who are we to judge when we aren’t looking perfect either.”

TIME society

Every Infant Should Dress as Ruth Baby Ginsburg for Halloween

Stop trying. This is the best costume of 2014

Considering reproducing? We now submit Exhibit A for why having a baby could be the right choice for you: This infant dressed up as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Quick, someone give this kid a Notorious RBG shirt immediately. The Ruth Baby Ginsburg Halloween costume should be every infant’s Halloween costume.

(h/t: Elle)

TIME society

11 Ways to Trick People Into Thinking Your Regular Clothes Are a Halloween Costume

You'll be asked what you are so many times, you can test them all!

So you don’t like dressing up for Halloween. And while you’re completely comfortable with your decision to abstain — be it due to time, money or just general ennui — you probably aren’t excited for the inevitable person in a sexy Frida Kahlo costume stopping you in a bar, raising her one eyebrow and pointedly asking: “So what are you supposed to be?”

Rather than running across the room screaming, “Damn you, costume-sugar industrial complex!,” here are some retorts you can use to trick people into thinking your regular clothes are actually a Halloween costume. When someone asks what you’re dressed up as, you can say:

  1. I’m a conscientious objector
  2. I’m the bass player from [insert pretentious sounding, fake band name here]
  3. I’m an undercover cop
  4. I’m covering this for The Times [scribble notes furiously]
  5. I’m a fashion blogger [take picture of them with iPhone, glare]
  6. I’m hungover
  7. I’m a secular humanist
  8. [Shout] This is what a feminist looks like!
  9. I’m normcore
  10. I’m #blessed/#flawless
  11. I’m sexy [insert your full name here, un-do top button, raise your two eyebrows back at sexy Frida]

And there you have it. Considering how many times you’ll probably have the opportunity to test all of our options, twice.

See More:

The Definitive History of Sexy Halloween Costumes

Inside the Weird World of Sexy Halloween Costumes for Dogs

TIME Food & Drink

Papa John’s Now Sells a Pizza Topped With Fritos and Chili

"I can't believe I waited 30 years to put Fritos on a pizza"

In a new ad, Papa John himself admits he’s ashamed of something: “I can’t believe I waited 30 years to put Fritos on a pizza!”

A pizza topping that surely someone must have been asking for. Right? Maybe? Well, Papa John’s CMO Bob Kraut told Businessweek a chili and Fritos-topped pizza was a “no-brainer,” so clearly someone thought it was a good idea.

While we have yet to try the new dish, which is being marketed to NFL watchers, the staff of Esquire did it for us. In the words of the publication’s Anna Peele, “Eating this pizza is like having sex with a coworker: Primarily intriguing because it’s transgressive, then instantly regrettable.”

American fast-food chains have a long way to go before entering the same league as its Asian-based locations’ weird fusions — Pizza Hut Korea literally put shrimp, calamari, bacon, steak and sausage on a pizza and then stuffed the crust with either cranberry or cinnamon apple nut and cream cheese filling — but it’s good to know America is putting its hat in the ring.

TIME movies

Early 2016 Release Date Set for Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar!

Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Filmmakers: Joel Coen And Ethan Coen, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen speak during Meet The Filmmakers: "Inside Llewyn Davis" at the Apple Store Astrid Stawiarz—Getty Images

Ensemble cast will feature Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and more

Universal Pictures let a few more details slip out Wednesday about an upcoming flick by the Academy Award-winning filmmakers called Hail, Caesar!

Indiewire, which published Universal’s synopsis, reports the feature by Ethan and Joel Coen, of Fargo and No Country for Old Men fame, is set for a Feb. 5, 2016, release.

The movie, which takes place toward the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age and “follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix,” will involve an all-star ensemble cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.

[Indiewire]

TIME Books

Harry Potter Site Teases New J.K. Rowling Story

Trick or treat?

Last week, J.K. Rowling’s website Pottermore announced that the writer would be unveiling a new 1,700 word story about Harry Potter characters on Oct. 31.

While fans were told that the story would focus on Dolores Umbridge, a former Hogwarts professor that Pottermore referred to as “one of the most malicious Potter characters,” little else is known about the new tale’s content. However, recent social media updates have been hinting at what Rowling has in store on for us on Halloween.

For example, will it involve Bellatrix Lestrange?

Here are some other hints:

Rowling released a different story based in the Harry Potter world in July.

TIME viral

Grieving Dad Grants Deceased 13-Year-Old Daughter’s Wish to Be Famous

Listen to Anna van Keulen beautifully play Downton Abbey's theme on the piano

Two weeks ago, 13-year-old Anna van Keulen died from injuries she sustained during a bike accident on her way to school in the Netherlands.

On Tuesday, her grieving father Niek van Keulen decided to do what he could to fulfill at least one of his deceased daughter’s wishes: To be famous. He tweeted out a video of Anna playing the theme song from Downton Abbey on the piano, and the heartfelt performance immediately went viral. Less than two days later, the video has been viewed almost 1.5 million times.

A day after the video went up, van Keulen tweeted, according to Google translate, “It’s overwhelming … thanks all. Anna’s goal is reached: she’s famous.”

But he wants to keep the attention directed to his daughter rather than himself. “Dear journalists: please stop calling,” he tweeted. “I do not want [to be] on radio or TV, it’s not about me, it’s about Anna. Thank you.”

(h/t: Mashable)

TIME Pop Culture

The Definitive History of Sexy Halloween Costumes

Steven Barston Photography / Yandy

Plus, the deep cultural meaning of that sexy George Washington get-up

In the year 2014, it’s entirely unsurprising to see a human female dress up as a sexy 101 Dalmatians dog for Halloween and only mildly surprising to see an actual dalmatian dress up as a sexy human female, complete with fake cleavage.

When did Halloween become, as Lindsay Lohan so eloquently stated in 2004’s Mean Girls, “The one night of the year when you can dress like a slut and no other girls can say anything about it”? What is the history of the historically-themed sexy wooly mammoth or sexy George Washington costume?

As it turns out, the story goes all the way back to the very origins of Halloween.

Before you understand the sexy costume, you have to understand the non-sexy version. “There is a long tradition of costuming of sorts that goes back to Hallow Mass when people prayed for the dead,” explains Nicholas Rogers, a history professor at York University who has written about Halloween. “But they also prayed for fertile marriages, and the boy choristers in the churches dressed up as virgins. So there was a certain degree of cross dressing in the actual ceremony of All Hallow’s Eve.”

The precursors of today’s typical, non-religious Halloween costumes didn’t really emerge until Victorians in 19th-century America embraced the holiday, says author and Halloween expert Lesley Bannatyne, (“[People at the time] dressed in costumes at the drop of a hat!” she adds.) Many Victorians became familiar with the holiday after reading a popular Robert Burns poem called Halloween. “It included footnotes that basically told you how to throw a Halloween party in rural Scotland, and the Victorians just loved it,” Bannatyne says. “They were obsessed with ghosts at this time, and it was about rural Scotland which was just as exotic to them as Fiji or Borneo.”

Still, Victorian Americans tended to opt for costumes that were creepy — like bats and ghosts — rather than come-hither. “A gypsy or an Egyptian princess — again the exotic,” Bannatyne explains. “It wouldn’t have shown much skin, but it would have had the aura of being outside the box. It was seen as glamorous and kind of in the same vein as you see kids shopping for sexy costumes today — in some part of their minds they think it’s glamorous. ‘A night to do something that I wouldn’t ordinarily do and have people look at me.'”

The Halloween costume continued to gain popularity in the early 20th century, but the get-ups were still tame. The 20’s had paper costumes, which involved wearing crepe-paper hats or aprons over clothing to turn into a cauldron or cat. (Note: not a sexy cat.) After World War II, Halloween became a holiday that revolved around children and trick or treating. “Women would dress up as Minnie Mouse, but there wasn’t a sexy Minnie Mouse,” Bannatyne says — which Paris Hilton proved earlier this month is no longer the case:

It wasn’t until the 1970’s, when adults began celebrating Halloween again, this time after the sexual revolution, that the truly sexy costumes emerged.

“There started to be these outrageous gay Halloween parades in the Castro District, Greenwich Village and Key West,” Bannatyne says. “Combine second-wave feminism with outrageousness and a general atmosphere of freedom, and you have this perfect storm of more outrageous costumes.”

So there’s the deeper meaning of the sexy costume: Halloween is a reflection of what is happening in culture — what people are thinking and seeing, and which boundaries are most obviously begging to be pushed.

“There was a general attempt to capitalize on what seemed transgressive,” says Rogers, the historian. “And because it’s a night of transgression you can get away with it without it being seen as particularly offensive in any way.” (“Except for the Christian right,” he adds, “but they think everything is transgressive anyway.”)

In other words, when dressing as an Egyptian princess à la the late 1800’s was no longer daring, celebrants had to look elsewhere for a way to make Halloween special. And it’s not just a matter of sexiness. Bannatyne recalls that after a slew of incredibly violent horror movies came out in the 1980’s, people complained that Halloween revelers were wearing overly gory costumes. As movies and television shows began showing more nudity and higher hemlines, Halloween fashion began emulating that level of sexiness as well. Today, we live in an era of both irony and overexposure. Anything, ranging from a marshmallow peep to a Sesame Street character, can qualify as a sexy costume. Yandy co-founder Chad Horstman, whose company sells counterintuitive sexy costumes — for example, the sexy lobster — traces the emergence of unexpected risqué costumes to almost a decade ago.

“We started selling selling an image called Tina the Taxi Driver,” he says. “There is a market for these unusual and zany Halloween costumes.”

Especially if they show a lot of leg.

Adults will spend $1.4 billion on their own Halloween costumes this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF doesn’t isolate for the sexy sector, but the fact that the sexy lobster even exists in the first place is evidence of how far we’ve come since the days of crepe-paper aprons. “It’s important to remember,” says Kathy Grannis, the organization’s senior director, “that retailers wouldn’t offer those options if they didn’t think there would be that kind of demand.”

Read TIME’s 1983 look at Halloween’s growing popularity among grown-ups, here in the archives: Halloween as an Adult Treat

TIME Television

Game of Thrones Actors Get Huge Pay Bump for Potential 7th Season

"X-Men: Days Of Future Past" Australian Premiere - Arrivals
Peter Dinklages poses as he arrives at the Australian premiere of 'X-Men: Days of Future Past" Graham Denholm—Getty Images

Just in case

The cast of Game of Thrones has signed on for a potential seventh season of the popular HBO series, and the actors renegotiated their contracts to include hefty pay bumps, according to a new report.

Although HBO has yet to greenlight the seventh season—George R. R. Martin has only written five of what is supposed to be a seven-book series on which the show is based—the actors had previously only been locked down through season six. The Hollywood Reporter broke the story of the raises.

While details of the new contracts are sparse, THR reports that new compensation will be based on a tier system:

The “A” tier — which includes actors Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) — is paid at the highest level. The “A” tier actors are said to have renegotiated their deals in tandem.

The show finished its fourth season this summer.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter

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