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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Figleaves Girls cause a very small rumpus

The London Underground is much enlivened at present by this splendid poster for the Figleaves online lingerie store.  However, just three weeks ago the Advertising Standards Authority had to adjudicate complaints about the previous poster which decorated Tube stations around Christmas time.

This picture of a buxom young lady in stockings and killer stilettos had three people complaining that they found the advert offensive and two people thought the poster was unsuitable to display in places where children might see them.  Fortunately, CBS, who placed the posters, had already got clearance that they were within the advert Code, provided that they were not displayed within 100 metres of a school.  Fortunately, the ASA noted that the posters were to advertise lingerie and that it was quite reasonable for them to feature a model in lingerie.  The ASA ruled that the posters were not likely to cause widespread offence.

We should think not!  What sort of person would complain about such images?  Even more shocking is that the advertising code has a rule about certain images not being shown within 100 metres of a school.  Do schoolchildren not have mothers who wear lingerie?  Will seeing women in lingerie damage their delicate sensibilities?  This is insane and seems to be part of the pernicious drive in the UK for anything that could be taken as vaguely sexual to be banned on the basis of its perceived effect on children.  If children habitually see people in underwear they will just take it as normal (the same applies to naked bodies) as they know no different.  If people tell them that seeing people in underwear or without clothes is "rude", "dirty" or bad then they will believe that.  Advertisements featuring topless women are common in Europe, both in posters on the street and on TV commercials. Are the children in these (many of them Catholic) countries more traumatised than ours?  Of course not.  We are afraid that these moves are largely driven by notions of appeasement to those from minority (and alien) religious groups.

It is the same political correctness that has caused the governing body of beach volleyball to authorise long shorts and tee shirts for this summer's Olympics (much to the disappointment of the dozens of MPs who signed up for priority tickets, heh, heh!).


  1. I'm sorry to hear about what may be a streak of puritanism spreading through the U.K. I'm a U.S. citizen ashamed of his country's moronic hypocrisy re all things sexual. Our pop entertainment, news media, and advertising (not to say politics) are absolutely soaked in a winking kind of obsession with everything sexual, but where Janet Jackson's exposed nipple on a TV broadcast became a national trauma, and anyone who gets _caught_ actually having a sexual life is carried out of town on a rail. I had the good luck to spend four years living with my family in Spain, one of those delightfully paradoxical Catholic countries where images of more-or-less naked women on bus-shelter posters seem to irritate no one. At the end of my daughter's first year of school there--we'd had to put her into a Catholic school for that year, having got to town too late to get her a spot in any of the public _colegios_--we went to the traditional _fin de curso_ (year-end) festival in the school's patio and watched, astonished, as the nuns who ran the place beamed on the sight of the preschool girls doing a saucy bump-and-grind number to the rhythm of some pop hit of the month. That was when we started to understand that there was a big difference between the prevailing North American and European ways of being "Christian." I guess the religious extremists all crossed the Atlantic, because the sensible people sensibly didn't want them around. And I'm one of their children. (sigh)

  2. Good pointS! Yes, I find the attitudes of most Americans, a bit bizarre on these issues. The worry here is that these views are often driven by a politically correct policy of appeasing (a minority of)Muslims at every possible point without suggesting that perhaps they should be a little more tolerant. Unfortunately toleration is the first thing out the door in a polarised society.