“My kids were seeing pornographic images in what is supposed to be a family shopping centre”
On the evening of the 24th June, my family and I were returning from a fun day out and decided to drop into Westfield Fountain Gate. The kids were tired, hungry and a bit grumpy so we hurriedly tried to find a restaurant, we wandered down a dimly lit arcade. I walked right past the only brightly lit shop front window of Honey Birdette and realised that the provocative images of scantily clad women was not something that I wanted my young kids to see. So, I hurried past hoping that they would follow and not notice.
I remember my heart sinking as my 4-year-old daughter suddenly shrieked behind me. “Look! Why is she not wearing any clothes?”
My daughter screamed and pointed at the larger than life posters of lingerie right above her. The genuine shocked and puzzled look on her face told me that she just could not fathom that there would be such an image in public.
Even worse, her shrieks soon caught the attention of my 6-year-old son, who came running. Together they stared and tried to make sense of the high-gloss floodlit posters.
In those brief moments, I felt immediately sad. Sad that my kids had to see these types of images and be exposed to adult concepts so young, when they were just enjoying their innocence. I try very hard as a parent to bring up my kids in an environment of decency and respect for themselves and others, so this experience was something that I knew I could not just ignore.
I grappled with so many thoughts. How am I going to explain to my kids what those images mean? What words can I use that they will understand and will give them a healthy perspective of this experience? Will my son take to the unhealthy liking of seeing almost nude women? What does my daughter think of what a beautiful woman should look like? How does she feel about herself when comparing against such a backdrop?
Sadness, soon turned to anger as I felt the protective instincts of a dad and the disappointment of failing to protect them.
It eventually dawned on me that the mental dissonance I was experiencing was because we were looking at pornographic images in what is supposed to be a family shopping centre! This just should not be.
Those images probably don't look out of place as the front cover of a grubby porn magazine, so how in the world are they allowed to be displayed in all their huge and LED lit glory at a family shopping centre frequented by children? Aren't there rules regulating appropriate advertising in Australia?
If I were to hang one of those posters up at my office lunchroom, I'd be summarily dismissed, not to mention sued for sexual harassment.
Doesn't Westfield shopping centre have some sort of ethical or OH&S standard for their tenants operating in their centre? How could this blatant breach of public trust be left without challenge? That night, something in me decided to do something about this disconnect.
Stay tuned for part 2 of how this father responded to Honey Birdette advertising.