Are YOU fed up with the “body inclusivity” fanatics who refuse to include older women in photo shoots promoting “all sizes, abilities and walks of life”?

They are age-phobic.

Dove pulled this stunt with its “Real Beauty” campaign. Go ahead, look closely at the women below. See if any look over 30. If any are over 30…they don’t look it. And that’s the problem.

Then there’s Isle of Paradise, which decided to be “inclusive” for its spray-on tan product. Check out the image below.

Not one of those women truly looks over 30, though Tess Holliday was 33 when the image was taken.

If there exist body inclusive shots that include women over 50, only the models who can pass for 35 or even younger are selected. They are also posed in a way to minimize signs of aging.

Chromat — Inclusivity vs. Age-Phobic

In shots and runway shows of many women of varying skin color and body size, the NYFW designer brand Chromat has been pushing the idea of “body inclusion” for some time. Overtly missing are older-looking women.

One such image popped up on Tess Holliday’s Instagram. At first glance, the women appear under 30. If you look closely, a few can pass for early 30s. Tess Holliday, at 34, is in the shot.

Chromat aims to push different sizes and physical abilities (the company has previously used a model with a prosthetic leg in an ad and runway work).

But wouldn’t an older body fall under the category of “physical abilities”?

A woman of 60 typically can’t run as fast as a woman of 30. Doesn’t that pertain to “physical abilities”?

Apparently the image was taken for Tess, so instead of pasting it here, I’ve provided the link to her Instagram account at the end of this post — showing the photo.

Regarding the picture, the woman in the center in red appears to be model Emme. She’s 56. There’s four things to consider about her inclusion, however.

• She’s somewhat in the background. Only the 20-somethings are in the foreground.

• Nevertheless, she can pass for 40, possibly 35.

• She’s the only one out of 27 visible female faces who can pass for 35/40.

• She’s an already established model, having gained considerable fame in her early 30s. Thus, she doesn’t count for Chromat’s attempt at true inclusivity.

Who are the 20-somethings in this same shot? It’s okay for young adult models to be unknowns.

But heaven forbid if a middle age woman who’s NEW to modeling and looks all of 55 gets a crack at one of these hypocritical inclusivity photo shoots.

I challenge anyone to produce a photo of a group of women, in which the promotion involves body inclusivity, that includes a model who:

• Easily looks 50ish, let alone 60ish.

• Is NOT already a famous model from decades ago such as Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley or Cheryl Tiegs.

• Is NOT already a famous recording artist or film star – now middle aged — but got her big break in her 20s or 30s.

• Is someone who’s just as unknown as the many anonymous 20-something models in these ads and publicity shoots.

Unknown female models over 50 are pretty much limited to ads for denture adhesives, hair regrowth products, anti-wrinkle cream, gadgets to firm up a sagging chin, drugs for incontinence or joint pain, etc.

Makers of underwear and other such attire are jumping on the body inclusivity bandwagon.

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see full-figured women modeling panties, bras, swimsuits as well as general clothes.

But where are the visibly older women?

THEY wear these things too! Or do women stop wearing underwear, bras and summer dresses when they reach 50?

Isle of Paradise might argue that women over 40 are rarely interested in spray tans; that most buyers of such a product are under 35.

But if you go to a crowded beach, there are plenty of women over 40 who are trying to “get some color.”

If anything, an older woman who looks 55 or 60 would be very interested in a spray tanner to avoid getting any more sun-caused wrinkles, whereas a young woman with taut flawless skin and an invincible attitude is less likely to be concerned about sun damage from a natural tan. Isle of Paradise missed the boat.

A Message to Companies Wanting to Jump on the Body Inclusivity Bandwagon

Don’t boast body inclusivity until you start including visibly middle aged, and even 60+, women in your ads – for products that women of ALL ages are drawn to. Don’t be a hypocrite.

It’s great that women in wheelchairs, with prosthetic limbs or extremely short stature are included in ads.

But when all the women in one of these ads can pass for 28…come ON…it’s soooo very obvious that women over 50 are being passionately excluded.

I actually would have been more impressed by Isle of Paradise had this company included a 50ish-looking women in that spray tan ad rather than a young-looking woman sitting in a wheelchair.

It’s fair to point out that I don’t know the ages of all the women who posed for Dove, Isle of Paradise and for the Chromat publicity shoot, but as already mentioned, the issue is that nearly every woman in any body inclusivity ad LOOKS under 35, with most appearing under 30.

So if a 55-year-old model looks 35 in a carefully staged shot … or a 42-year-old can pass for 29, thanks to makeup, lighting and angling … this doesn’t count! Let’s include more female models who LOOK older, for Pete’s sake.

Additional Examples of Body Inclusivity Ads that Exclude Women Who Look Middle Age

TomboyX. Note that the middle-age woman’s body is hidden, while the bodies of the other seven younger models are in full view.

Girlfriend Collective. All looking like 20-somethings – maybe a few teen-somethings.

Torrid. Ad for cool denim clothes. Apparently, the company thinks that women over 35 don’t wear denim.

As mentioned, I don’t know the ages of the models in these “inclusivity” ads, but the issue is what age they LOOK. If there’s a 50-year-old model in here somewhere, she looks nowhere near it.

This would be akin to using a size 14 model for a size inclusivity ad, but then having her wear a corset under a dark outfit and posing sideways so that she could pass for a size 8.

  • This isn’t genuine inclusivity.
  • It’s deception.
  • If older female models are made up and posed to look younger, this, too, is deception.


Is Tess Holliday Age-Phobic?

Here’s the link to Tess Holliday in the Chromat “inclusivity” shot. And below are more examples of companies that pat themselves on the back for being body inclusive with their ads, yet a big shame on them for leaving out older-looking models.

Is age-phobia the new fat-phobia?

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/