To fight against the societal policing of women's bodies, Spain’s Ministry of Equality has kicked off a summer campaign encouraging all women of any shape and size to go to the beach, saying "summer is ours too."
The campaign's main photos show five women of different body types, ethnicities and ages having fun in the sun.
"Summer is ours too," the campaign reads. "Enjoy it how, where and with whomever you want." The promotional work also depicts a woman who has had a mastectomy without a top.
"All bodies are beach bodies," stated Ione Belarra, leader of the leftist party Podemos who is also the Minister for Social Rights in Spain’s coalition government. "All bodies are valid and we have the right to enjoy life as we are, without guilt or shame. Summer is for everyone!"
'Summer also belongs to us'
Antonia Morillas, Head of the Spanish Women’s Institute behind the initiative, underlined that beauty standards have a negative impact on women’s self-esteem and women's health.
"Every time they point out our bodies, they censor us for being fat, for having hair, stretch marks, cellulite or scars, they are attacking our self-esteem and with it, our health. Our bodies and our lives are valid." she tweeted on Wednesday alongside an image from the campaign.
"All bodies are valid and we have the right to enjoy life as we are, without guilt or shame. Summer is for everyone!" the Spanish Women's Institute stated in a press release.
Despite the campaign's positive intentions, it has come under fire for using images of the models without their consent. Moreover, the images of the women were altered.
That was the case for Sian Green-Lord who appears at the bottom left of the image whose photo was altered so it didn't show her prosthetic leg.
"I don't even know how to explain the amount of anger I'm feeling right now… I'm literally shaking, " said Green-Lord in an Instagram story.
"It's one thing to use my image without permission but it's another thing to alter my body, my body with my prosthetic leg… I have no words, it goes beyond the limits."
The designer behind the campaign, Arte Mapache, has issued a public apology for using the likeness of the women without their permission, and for using a typeface she thought was free.
"Given the – justified – controversy over the image rights in the illustration, I have decided that the best way to make amends for the damages that may have resulted from my actions is to share out the money I received for the work and give equal parts to the people in the poster," the artist said on Twitter.
The Spanish government has yet to comment. Last week, Spain's Institute for Women said the campaign was a reaction to the "fatphobia, hatred and the questioning of non-normative bodies - particularly those of women, something that's most prevalent in the summertime."