Denise Hatton, CEO of the national council of YMCAs, a founding partner of the Be Real Campaign for body confidence, said: “Sir Tom Jones’ comments send out a dangerous message to women everywhere that how you look is more important than how talented you are.
“Success in music or in any other industry should not be dependent on your appearance or whether you have what is considered to be the ‘ideal’ body type that, in reality, 95% of the population could never achieve. To hear this challenged by someone of Sir Tom’s standing, from a TV show that prioritises voice above appearance, could have a damaging impact on young women who our research shows are already feeling enormous pressure from celebrity culture to look a certain way.
“In fact, the current trend of fat shaming does nothing but reinforce an unhelpful and potentially unhealthy ideal that leaves teenage girls singing into their bedroom mirrors today thinking that what stares back at them is more important than how they sound.
“This is why the Be Real Campaign launched our Body Image Pledge last year to encourage the music, fashion, media and advertising industries to challenge these unhelpful myths and favour imagery that accurately reflects the diversity of our population. We believe this is an important first step in building a body confident nation that truly prioritises health above appearance.”