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Poster banned for objectifying women

Posters by an online fashion brand have been subject to investigation by the advertising standards authority (ASA) for objectifying women.

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The posters were accused of objectifying women

Both created by the brand Missguided, one poster was spotted on the London Underground and featured a woman wearing a pink wrap mini dress with her legs and cleavage on show.

The second was seen on a train station platform and featured the same women wearing only an unbuttoned jacket, tights and heels.

The ASA investigated complaints over the woman being objectified and over sexualised with questions also raised over whether the posters were suitable to be viewed by children.

Missguided strongly contested that the imagery in both adverts were overly sexualised and objectified women. The brand argued that while the ads did contain images of young women baring some degree of skin, the looks were in line with industry norms and similar ads in the industry.

We considered that the sexually suggestive styling and pose would be seen as presenting women as sexual objects

The brand also emphasised that promoting and encouraging female empowerment was “extremely important” to its business and described the posters as “bold and brave” and designed to stand out from the crowd.

The ASA concluded that the first advert did not constitute as anything more than mildly sexual and due to the wrap style of the dress being worn as it would in real life, didn’t uphold the complaints.

The authority says: “While we acknowledged that some people might find the ad distasteful and the clothing revealing, we considered that the ad was unlikely to be seen as overtly sexual or as objectifying either the model in the ad of women in general and we therefore concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

The brand says that encouraging female empowerment is extremely important to business

The ASA did uphold the complaints surrounding the second poster as the model can be seen wearing nothing underneath the blazer with a part of her breast exposed.

Commenting on its decision, the ASA says: “We considered she would be seen as being in a state of undress and that the focus was on her chest area and lower abdomen rather than the clothing being advertised.

“We also noted that her head was tilted back, with her mouth slightly open, and her leg was bent and raised, which we considered was likely to be seen as a sexually suggestive pose. We considered that the sexually suggestive styling and pose would be seen as presenting women as sexual objects.”

The ASA concluded on a breach of the CAP Code [the UK code of non-broadcast advertising] rule 4.1 which relates to harm and offence. The second poster must not appear again in its current form and Missguided has been warned not to use advertising that objectifies women and could cause “serious offence”.

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