‘High fashion swimwear images’: Ad Standards gaslights members objecting to sex shop ad

In its latest failure to protect community members from exposure to harmful, porn themed ads which objectify women, Ad Standards has ruled against its own panel members in defence of Playboy owned sex shop Honey Birdette’s shop window ad.

A concerned community member objected to ‘a porn giant exposing children in [their] community to oversized porn inspired ads featuring bare naked genitalia’.

Honey Birdette ad for 'Ruby'

Some Ad Standards panel members reviewing the complaint also objected. They considered that:

  • the overall impression is that a large amount of her pubic region is visible
  • many members of the community would find this to be a confronting level of apparent nudity in a public space
  • it was not appropriate for the relevant broad audience which would likely include children

Instead of being guided by research verifying the harms of objectification to women and girls, or experts in child psychology or child protection - or even by its own members who objected to the ad, Ad Standards used ‘majority rules’ in its decision to dismiss community complaints about the ad. In this case, the majority of the panel considered that because ‘there was no particular focus on [the model’s] body parts’; ‘the woman’s breasts are appropriately covered’; and ‘the groin area of the lingerie was small’ but the model’s ‘genitals are covered’, the ad was suitable for viewing by a broad shopping centre audience which included children.

'Like swimwear ads'

The case report noted:

The Panel noted that the overall scene was similar to what would be seen in high fashion swimwear images, and that these types of images were not overtly sexual.

Playboy: a corporate pimp, pornographer and predator with a 70 year history of exploiting women and girls for profit. Honey Birdette: a Playboy-owned sex shop. Ad Standards’ response to Honey Birdette’s pornified portrayal of a woman in its shop window ad: Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist went out on the ad after seeing it in her local Queensland Government owned shopping centre. Read more about the double standards of Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) and other Honey Birdette landlords here.

Click image to link to post

We then took to our own socials to call on QIC CEO Kylie Rampa, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and state women's Minister Shannon Fentiman to stop Honey Birdette's porn themed public displays which harm women.

Click image to link to post

We have since written to them as well, but we have not received a reply. Read our letter to Ms Rampa, Premier Palaszczuk and Hon Fentiman here.

Ad self regulation is a failure. We will continue to call for a new system that prioritises the well being of community members over vested interests. 

See also

25 Reasons Why Ad Industry Self-Regulation is a Disaster

12 ways Honey Birdette disempowers women and girls

Westfield "hears" us - then serves up five more years of porn themed sex shop ads

Add your comment

  • Collective Shout
    published this page in News 2023-04-03 10:53:14 +1000

You can defend their right to childhood

A world free of sexploitation is possible!

Fuel the Movement