Ipswich mum criticises town’s Whitehouse Asda for advertising ‘Barbie-like’ JML Miss Belt in store

Heather Hunt, from Ipswich

Heather Hunt, from Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

An Ipswich mum has hit out at a major supermarket over claims a display promoting a slimming belt was at eye level for her six-year-old daughter – who, after spotting it, said she wanted a “Barbie waist”.

JML's Miss Belt

JML's Miss Belt - Credit: Archant

Heather Hunt, who lives in the town, was shopping in Asda’s Whitehouse store on Tuesday morning when she noticed three screens advertising the ‘Miss Belt’, a compression device designed to ‘shape’ your figure into an hourglass.

And as a mum, she said she “couldn’t stand by and do nothing”, so complained to the manager – who told her Asda staff are unable to “touch” the stand as it belongs to the belt’s developers JML.

“It’s promoting an unhealthy and unrealistic body image. And it’s not just for adults, as it’s at eye level for children”, said Ms Hunt.

“My six-year-old immediately noticed it and started talking about it. It’s a family supermarket. The girls in the pictures have tiny waists and I don’t want my little girl to think that’s normal”.

Ms Hunt is unhappy with the supermarket

Ms Hunt is unhappy with the supermarket - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Ms Hunt claims the store’s manager admitted they had “nothing to do with it” and it was not an Asda product, but a promotion.

An Asda spokesman said the JML stand is approximately 30m inside the store and is around five to six feet off the floor.

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“We believe in offering customers choice, and encouraging healthy, balanced lifestyles, the spokesman added.

“We therefore offer a range of products all at great prices. We have taken the customer’s feedback on board and will pass this on to JML”.

But Ms Hunt added: “I don’t want my child to grow up thinking that unrealistic, Barbie-like waists are the norm”.

A spokesman for JML said the Miss Belt was sent off to an independent test lab for a safety review and all warnings and advice in the instruction guide show the customer how to use the product safely and appropriately.

They added: “The product is not marketed towards children. It is aimed at adults who want to have the appearance of an instantly slimmer waist. The product is similar to much of the slimming wear on the market and leaves the choice in the hands of the consumer as to whether that look is desirable or not”.

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