Honey Birdette have shared their latest advertising campaign, set to coincide with the Sydney Mardi Gras festival. The campaign depicts an orgy, featuring naked men and women whose bodies are painted in the Pride colours. Many of the women included are headless, but their naked breasts made it into the frame (we've blurred the image below).
Founder Eloise Monaghan said, "We certainly will cause a stir, but I still don’t see the difference between a female and male nipple.”
This is not the first time Honey Birdette has attempted to capitalise on a social movement or political issue for PR purposes. In 2017, the company staged a pro-same sex marriage demonstration- a lingerie flash mob featuring models wearing Honey Birdette products and holding signs like “I heart HB”. The move was rightly slammed on social media, with one user describing the stunt as a “money grab” that was “worse than the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad”. ABC’s Media Watch described the apparent marketing ploy as “a pretty obvious attempt to hijack an issue for commercial reasons”.
Honey Birdette has consistently and brazenly delivered sexist and pornified representations of women, increasingly lesbians, to flog their overpriced lingerie and sex toys. The company’s porn-inspired depictions of lesbian sexuality further entrenches sexist and harmful stereotypes of lesbian sexuality as male entertainment.
A number of lesbian feminists have responded to Honey Birdette’s latest ad campaign, calling the company out for tokenising and fetishising lesbians to promote their brand.
“If there's no difference between a female nipple and a male nipple why are all but one of the visible nipples female? Using lesbians as titillation is not unusual, the pornographers have been doing it for decades. But in the real world real lesbians are tortured for our activism; real lesbians are subjected to corrective rape; and in the real world when a lesbian is raped or tortured she doesn't get to say stop. Not only are you continuing the sexualising of women, you are giving mixed messages with images of a mixed orgy.”
-Susan Hawthorne, lesbian activist and writer
Liz- Listening 2 Lesbians (still waiting on a quote)
Female Empowerment? Why Feminism Deserves Better than Honey Birdette- ABC Religion and Ethics