By Sherele Moody, founder of the RED HEART Campaign dedicated to fighting violence against women and children. Read the full article at the Courier Mail.
I can only imagine what is said during a Honey Birdette marketing meeting.
Perhaps the conversation goes something like this: “Hey, let’s put a photograph of a scantily clad hairless vagina in our catalogue and at the front of our outlets in the lead-up to Christmas. Make sure the panties show a good percentage of side labia. And don’t forget to emblazon “ASK FOR YOUR CANDY” in capital letters across the image.”
The lingerie retailer is known for titillating and offending Aussie consumers by covering its stores — usually in major shopping centres — with controversial marketing that objectifies women.
At best, Honey Birdette advertisements serve up “hypersexualised” imagery of young women.
At worst, it delivers a good dose of “soft porn”.
There is a fine-line between empowering women and turning them into sex objects.
I believe Honey Birdette has well and truly crossed that line in its attempt to profit from the female form.
I am a feminist and that means I’m 110 per cent behind a woman having the freedom to work in whatever industry she wants — including modelling lingerie.
I am also opposed to policing what women wear.
As a gay woman, I do not see myself as a prude with a churlish view of women looking sexy.
But coming face-to-face with near-naked vaginas while strolling through the mall is enough to make me want to grab a can of black spray paint to do a little bit of censoring.
The Advertising Standards Bureau has banned 13 of its adverts for being “sexually explicit, highly pornographic and condoning excess violence”.
The business copped a ban earlier this year for a marketing campaign that clearly showing a woman’s nipple.
The watchdog said it contained “high level nudity and sexual suggestion”.
“The level of nudity was at the higher end of the scale and the image was highly sexualised 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 ABS said.
A petition calling for Honey Birdette to change its marketing strategy has gained almost 70,000 signatures.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
News Corp journalist Sherele Moody is the recipient of the 2018 BandT Women in Media Social Change Maker Award and has multiple Clarion and Walkley Our Watch journalism excellence awards for her work reducing violence against women and children. She is also the founder of The RED HEART Campaign and the creator of the Femicide Australia Map.
Sign the petition to Westfield: STOP Honey Birdette using porn-style advertising in Westfield family friendly centres.
Female Empowerment? Why Feminism Deserves Better than Honey Birdette- ABC Religion and Ethics