Spain has apologized after a third British woman complained that manipulated images of her were being used without permission in a much-criticized ‘beach body’ campaign.
The Women’s Institute, part of Spain’s ministry of equality, has emailed all three models to “sincerely apologize” for a poster encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to be proud of their bodies.
Instead, the institute and Arte Mapache, the artist who created the poster, angered the women depicted because their images were used without permission and were significantly altered in two cases.
Juliet Fitzpatrick, a cancer survivor, became the third woman to complain about the poster since it appeared last week, saying the image created “a bit of a Frankenstein” by placing a photographic portrait of her face on another woman’s body. have had a mastectomy.
Fitzpatrick, whose face is on a standing body to the left of the beach poster, has undergone two mastectomy, one in March 2017 and one in November 2018, and has since campaigned for the visibility of women who have had breasts removed.
Speaking to the Guardian, she said: “The face reminds me of me, but that’s not my body. I have no breasts, and this one has one breast. The thought of my face on the body of a one-breasted woman is quite disturbing.”
The institute apologized to Fitzpatrick, as well as Sian Green-Lord, who trembled with anger after the poster showed her image with her prosthetic leg cut out, and Nyome Nicholas-Williams, the first of three models to complain that her image was used without permission.
The email read: “We were not aware that images of real women had been used. We sincerely apologize for any damage you may have suffered. The aim of our campaign is to recognize body diversity in all its dimensions, and we will be happy to work with you on any related action.”
In a statement, the institute added: “The institute would like to clarify that at no time did it know that the women appearing in the images were real people. The assignment was to develop an illustration, without using scale models. As an injured party, the institute has contacted the models to clarify the situation and is waiting for the illustrator and the models to reach an agreement.”
Mapache apologized last week for using images of women without permission. But he has not yet offered any personal apologies to the women involved.
Fitzpatrick said: “I’ve been campaigning a lot anyway about women’s choice after mastectomy and increasing the visibility of women who have had a mastectomy and choose to stay flat, whether that’s one breast or no breast.”
“I’m upset they used my image without asking because all the work I’ve done in other campaigns has been so watertight in terms of permissions. To use this and chop it up is just not acceptable.
She added: “I was working on a Dove campaign with Getty Images, which specifically targeted digital distortion of images. This person has learned nothing from that. I think it totally invalidates the entire campaign.”
Fitzpatrick, who has been in contact with Green-Lord and Nicholas-Williams since the image appeared, said she would consider posing for an accurate version of the poster’s image.
She said: “That’s not a bad idea. I think Nyome may have said, ‘I’d be really happy to come to Spain, maybe with the others, and recreate this thing’, but that could have been a throwaway comment.”
She added, “The controversy has clearly highlighted the need for body diversity and body positivity.”