BDSM shopfront image fine for kids says Ad regulator: gaslighting mum complainant

Honey Birdette whip + paddle ad ruled "not strongly sexual"

*Content warning

In its latest failure to do its job, Ad Standards has dismissed a community member’s objections to a series of Playboy-owned sex shop Honey Birdette’s porn themed shop window ads. The concerned mum noted that the ads were displayed directly next to popular children’s store, Lego.

In one ad, a topless women brandishes a whip alongside another woman holding a paddle. According to Ad Standards Community Panel, the bright colour of the lingerie “detracted from the BDSM element of the scene”. They concluded that the “overall impression of the advertisement is not strongly sexual”.

Naked women. In bondage wear. Brandishing BDSM paraphernalia. To flog BDSM gear. For a porn empire (Playboy)'s sex shop. “Not strongly sexual”? No one's buying that.

Ad Standards went so far to say that the ad treated sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience, which included children - even after a mum expressed her concerns about her young daughter being exposed to the harmful, objectifying imagery. This is gaslighting to the extreme – and a gross abuse of power.

Earlier this year, a city council was forced to introduce new outdoor advertising rules after Ad Standards' Community Panel gave the thumbs up to a massive, suburban streetside billboard flogging porn subscriptions to kids (read more here).

Ad Standards is a sham.

Which Ad Standards Community Panel members said the ad was "not strongly sexual" and ok for kids? We'd like to know. (Click image for Community Panel members' names + bios)

From all of us at Collective Shout, we commend the women who took time to lodge complaints with Ad Standards. And we want to assure them – it’s not you, it’s Ad Standards. Don’t be put off by their rubbish rulings. The self regulator has been gaslighting women in favour of the predatory porn and sex industries for years. Keep speaking out. Your complaints are a reminder to them that we women are not ok with having porn style ads shoved in our and our children’s faces.

We will keep calling for an ad system that prioritises the wellbeing of women and children over vested interests like Playboy and Honey Birdette.

Read the Community Panel's full case report here.

Take action

Have you seen an ad which objectifies women and/or sexualises children?

Lodge a complaint with Ad Standards here.

Contact Honey Birdette's shopping centre landlords here.

See also

Cross ‘em off your Christmas List: Our 2023 blacklist of companies to avoid!

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  • Collective Shout
    published this page in News 2023-11-27 18:43:45 +1100

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