Simply Be’s Recent Survey & Campaign Proves That Women Want to See More Body Diversity in the Media

Unrealistic beauty ideals & lack of diversity are still prevalent in the media.

While the fashion industry has made strides in more diversity, there’s still a-ways to go in truly showing representation across the board.

As it has been pointed out before, when women don’t see themselves represented in the bodies shown in the media, that may lead to eatring disorders and other dangerous situations where women try to change their bodies to fit those unrealistic body ideals.

In a world where social media has become the norm and along with that, photo-editing and filters are being used frequently, diversity and representation is so needed, more than ever before.

Enter UK plus size fashion retailer Simply Be.

The Simply Be team decided to survey 2,142 women across the UK, ages 18 to 40 to find out how they feel about the representation of female body shapes in the media, and how this makes them feel about their own bodies.

According to the official press release, the retailer states:

“Clearly, there is still some way to go for the fashion industry, with many brands still not hitting the mark with inclusivity and diversity. And that simply won’t cut it with today’s generation of women.”

The survey also asked the women to share who their modern-day icons are. And the results revealed that women want more than just looks when choosing who they admire and look up to.

The results may surprise brands who think women don’t want to see bodies like theirs represented.

81% of women think brands are just ‘ticking a box’ when they feature curvy models, failing to show a broad enough range of diversity in their advertising campaigns.


Two thirds of women don’t relate to supermodels and fashionistas that are regularly shown in the media spotlight, leading to feelings of being overlooked and misunderstood.

Three quarters of those who took part in the survey said that modern women refuse to conform to the outdated ideal of what a woman’s body shape should look like and half of the women called for curvy women to be used more in promoting fashion.

Over half of the women surveyed said that traditional runway/catwalk models had no influence on the way they dress.

In terms of who those surveyed women viewed as icons, here’s the top 10 list:

1. Michelle Obama
2. Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
3. Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
4. Kylie Jenner
5. Victoria Beckham
6. Jameela Jamil
7. Ashley Graham
8. Gemma Collins
9. Bella Hadid
10. Emma Watson

As you can see, Simply Be’s survey shows that politicians and royalty are among the top five modern-day icons.

In response to these survey results, Simply Be launched a new campaign focusing on redefining the fashion icon, putting curves front and center.

The campaign, which launched early this month, includes TV, digital, print and out-of-home advertisements.

It officially kicked off on October 2nd with an army of real-life mannequins, ranging from sizes 12-24, standing outside London’s Freemasons’ Hall in front of a large-scale projection screened onto the walls of the famous Covent Garden building. Each model held a newspaper displaying the headline, “We Need New Icons“.

According to Simply Be, they hope the campaign can help reverse the stereotypical images seen on TV and in movies where curvier girls are depicted as the “Funny Friend” while advertising uses them to portray the “Girl Next Door”, rather than polished, glamourous and sexy in a leading role.

Only one in 12 of those surveyed (8%) believe that curvier women are ever represented as desirable icons.

Isla Kirby, Head of Brand from Simply Be said:

“We’re still in a world where convention needs to be challenged. Whilst curvier bodies have begun to feature in some advertising, it’s never as the polished to perfection, sexy and glamourous lead – but why not?

Our research shows that women are tired of the industry adopting a tokenistic approach to bigger bodies. They want to be represented beyond the bubbly girl clichés, they want to be seen in a way that’s inspirational to every woman, regardless of her size.

The New Icons campaign enables curvy women to take the spotlight, showing they can be sophisticated, full of attitude and the most fashionable person in the room.”

Want to learn more about this campaign and the survey?

Please visit

What do you think of the survey results and campaign from Simply Be? Follow us on social media @plusmodelmag and let us know!