Enough is Enough! Westfield must act now.

Shoppers continue to over their lack of action regarding banned Honey Birdette posters

Guest blog post from "one angry mum"

Parenting is hard at the best of times. You want to make the right decisions for your kids so that they grow up to be well rounded, compassionate, kind human beings. You hope that you can instil in them a sense of justice, that they would change the world and make it a better place. With so many horrific stats around male violence against women in this country I see it as my duty to raise my son to respect women. To see them as fully human, rather than sexualised, objectified things. The research on this is clear on the links between objectification and violence against women.

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That is why I am intentional about what we watch, what we listen to, the way I speak about others. Because although he is young, he is listening, he is watching, and he is learning. The foundation is being set on who he will be and how he behaves in the future. A simple trip to Westfield to get groceries shouldn't threaten that. 

On July 20 2018 as we walked through the centre my son sat proudly in the trolley, eyes open wide at all the lights and shiny, fun things around him. And then we passed it....a huge blown up poster in the front window of Honey Birdette. This poster was far beyond the type of imagery you should expect to see in a public place frequented by children. They way the model was styled and posed was hyper-sexualised. The particular garment she was wearing was transparent. Why should my toddler be exposed to that when I'm walking through a Westfield to get groceries?  

So I went home and typed up a complaint to Ad Standards. I was certain this ad could not be in line with their code of ethics. I received an email from them six days later (on the July 26) that the panel were going to consider my complaint. 

On Aug 24 I finally heard back from Ad Standards. Five whole weeks after I lodged my complaint. I was pleased to read in their correspondence that that had in fact upheld my complaint. 

The Panel noted that the bra the woman was wearing was sheer and considered that there was a strong suggestion that her nipple was visible. The Panel noted that the design and cut of the lingerie featured in the advertisement left a large portion of her breasts visible and that this imagery did contain a high level of nudity.

The Panel considered that the level of nudity was at the higher end of the scale and as such the image included on a poster that is visible to members of the community standing outside the business was not appropriate for the relevant broad audience which would likely include children.

The Panel determined the advertisement did not treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and did breach Section 2.4 of the Code. Finding that the advertisement breached Section 2.4 of the Code, the Panel upheld the complaints.

The correspondence also stated that the ad was "not modified or discontinued". In fact Honey Birdette responded to the ad standards determination by lashing out and claiming "We are here to empower women and we are going to continue to do that."

But in the words of Dr Meagan Tyler:

"There is nothing empowering about sexual objectification. Sexual objectification is literally about reducing women's power. These pornified images in public space serve to reduce the status of women to a consumable set of commodified body parts, positioned for the male gaze."

So what now?

To Westfield I ask how long were these harmful posters which were in breach of the code of ethics up in your shopping centres?

What are you going to do about preventing further posters of this nature from being in your centres?

Your centres are NOT a safe space for families. My son deserves better. You can't wash your hands clean of this. I'd like some answers. And I'm not alone in this. Over 60,000 others are asking the same questions. Westfield, you don't deserve another cent of my money until you take action. I am boycotting all Westfields. I will do my shopping at local independent grocery stores so I can shop in confidence knowing my son won't be bombarded with hyper-sexualised depictions of women. 

Westfield, it is time you exercised some Corporate Social Responsibility. 


To read the history on Honey Birdette click here


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