Appalled shoppers take aim at ‘raunchy’ lingerie store advertising
Appalled shoppers are calling on centres around to take down life-sized advertising for a controversial lingerie chain that they have likened to “soft porn”.
Sydney mother Kat Israel said she avoided walking past the Honey Birdette store at the Macquarie Centre because she did not want her children to see the its latest window banners.
Ms Israel said she found the advertising sexist, with women “posed to be very sexual” and “looking very sultry”.
“People can buy what they like and that’s fine but I think they shouldn’t be allowed to have that sort of advertising there in a public space.”
An online petition calling on Westfield to take action over the displays in their centres has attracted thousands of signatures.
Ms Israel said she has had to have conversations about the images with her children, including her 11-year-old son.
“He’s a little boy and we’re carefully teaching him about consent and respect, and then you go to a public place and have that potentially undone by seeing these soft porn images that are enormous, they’re absolutely massive.”
A spokeswoman for AMP Capital, which owns the Macquarie Centre, said it always passed on feedback from customers to individual retailers.
“We encourage customers who have any concerns about what they see in our centre to contact management.”
Kenneth Thor, a Melbourne father of three, said his heart sank when he walked past the Honey Birdette lingerie store in Westfield Fountain Gate and his four-year-old daughter asked why the model in the store’s printed display wasn’t wearing any clothes.
He said the store’s display banners featured “near naked women clad only with sheer lingerie in all their raunchy glory”.
“Even worse, [my daughter’s] shrieks caught the attention of my six-year-old son, who came running and together they stared and pointed at the porn-style images trying to make sense of them.”
He started the petition on change老域名出售 calling on Westfield to step in and force the removal of the images. It had achieved more than 11,000 signatures by Thursday evening.
Mr Thor is petitioning Westfield to stop using “porn-style advertising” and to practise higher advertising standards in Westfield’s shopping centres.
Julia Clarke, head of corporate affairs at Scentre Group said Westfield shopping centres strived to meet the needs of many different shoppers.
“As with all its retail partners, Scentre Group has continued to work closely with Honey Birdette in the period it has operated in the group’s portfolio, and it also implements a number of processes – on a case-by-case basis – which may address any customer concerns,” she said.
“Any customer feedback – positive and negative – that is received by Scentre Group is always shared with Honey Birdette stores.”
The petition is directed at Peter and Steven Lowy but Ms Clarke confirmed they are not involved with the operations of Westfield centres in and New Zealand.
“They are co-CEOs of Westfield Corporation, which owns Westfield centres in the US, UK and Europe,” she said.
Mr Thor complained to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB), and the complaint was upheld – but he felt the situation had not been resolved.
“They were ordered to take down the ads, but they have since replaced them with worse ones,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the ASB said complaints were assessed by an independent board of people who decide whether the advertisements are exploitative and degrading based on broad community views.
“With lingerie advertising, what we find is that there are always some people who find it offensive regardless of how it’s advertised,” she said.
“A number of Honey Birdette ads have been found to breach standards but an equal number have been found to be acceptable.”
Managing director of Honey Birdette, Eloise Monaghan said the petition was ridiculous.
“We’ve spent the last 11 years empowering women. All this group wants to do is disempower women; it’s 2017, it’s time to grow up,” Ms Monaghan said.
“We’ve had tears in change rooms because people feel good about themselves and all this group wants to do is make people feel bad about themselves and they’re using us as their platform.”
Ms Monaghan said Honey Birdette would, “keep doing what we do, and that’s empowering women”.