American Apparel have been at it again, and it’s resulted in their adverts for their ‘Back To School’ and ‘School Days’ range being banned in the UK. Again. But why? Because they were seen by the Advertising Standards Agency to ‘have the potential to normalise predatory sexual behaviour to young women’ which is as good a reason as any for banning an advert really, isn’t it?
ASA made the following statement regarding the adverts:
The images amount to underage porn. We considered the images were gratuitous and objectified women, and were therefore sexist and likely to cause serious and widespread offence.
Furthermore, we considered the images imitated voyeuristic ‘up-skirt’ shots which had been taken without the subject’s consent or knowledge which, in the context of an ad for a skirt marketed to young women, we considered had the potential to normalise a predatory sexual behaviour.
We considered the ads had therefore not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers or to society.
We considered that, from the context in which the ads appeared, it was likely that those who viewed them would understand that the model was, or was intended to appear to be, a schoolgirl.
We considered the ads had the effect of inappropriately sexualising school-age girls and were therefore offensive and irresponsible for that reason too.
Hefty statement there. In their defence, American Apparel said that the photographs were of a 30 year old photographer who worked for them, and was in no way supposed to be suggestive of a young school girl. However, the fact that the advert appeared in the Back To School lookbook and you can’t see her face, coupled with American Apparel’s controversial reputation (they sold a t-shirt with a bleeding vagina on it FFS) in the first place, kind of implies that they knew exactly what they were doing but had a pretty good excuse for it if they got pulled up on it, which is exactly what happened.
The ads themselves aren’t allowed to be seen in their current form, but if you want to see what all the fuss is about click onto the next page.