Lingerie Chain Honey Birdette Again In Trouble For Raunchy Window Display

Lingerie Chain Honey Birdette Again In Trouble For Raunchy Window Display

Lingerie/sex shop Honey Birdette is once again in trouble with the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) over three images displayed on store windows during May. The majority of complaints are around the implication that the tagline “Room Service” implies prostitution.

ERIN MARY Doyle
Posted by ERIN MARY Doyle

There are three images complained about (including the featured image below), all window displays feature the words “Room Service”. The second image features two women, one woman has her back to the camera and is wearing sheer black lingerie. The second woman is facing the camera and is wearing red and black lingerie. The final image is of a woman sitting down wearing black lingerie.

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The complaints to the Advertising Standards Board included:

  • This is overtly sexualized and degrading in that the composition of the image is predominantly a woman’s legs and bottom, dressed in the sort of lingerie that only a porn addled man would crave for. No woman wants to be valued simply for her sexual attributes and this ad simply reinforces the message that arousal is what women are good for.
  • This is appropriate for a sex shop, or adult shop, but not in the local shopping centre where young children and teenagers are heavily influenced… This is offensive to me and my children, but also promotes females as being only sexual.
  • It is unsuitable for this kind of graphic to be displayed in a shopping centre where people of all ages shop. Children’s development should not be shaped by these kinds of images. I have no issue with what they sell inside their shop but I have a huge concern with how their product is promoted to the general public passing by.
  • Honey Birdette’s marketing reduces women to sexual objects and gives girls and women the clear message that they are nothing more than objects for the purpose of men’s pleasure. They are expected to look like and be prostitutes.

Early this year, the ASB ruled against Honey Birdette’s Christmas advertising featuring as scantily clad women standing over a bound and gagged Santa Claus.

Honey Birdette’s response to the complaints included that the ads were being changed over the weekend regardless. The representative said: “I believe the influx of complaints that you received yesterday is the result of a campaign led by Collective Shout.”

The grassroots organisation has a long standing battle against Honey Birdette, it claims the store “completely disregarded the rights of children to inhabit public space free from pornographic imagery, and the rights of women to be regarded as anything more than sexual playthings for men’s enjoyment.”

In its ruling the Board ruled that the advertisement did breach the Codes. In particular the words ‘room service’ because the ASB “generally understood to mean a delivery of a service to a hotel room and that the reference to ‘introducing Natalie’ is a double entendre which references the availability of a new working girl.

“The Board noted that the woman with her back to the viewer is wearing sheer panties and considered that the nature of the sheer fabric means that the woman’s buttocks and her intergluteal cleft are still visible. The Board acknowledged that the lingerie worn by both women in this advertisement can be purchased in store, but considered that there is a high degree of nudity in this style of lingerie and in conjunction with the manner in which the lingerie is modelled by the two women is sexualised with the proximity of the two women to one another suggestive of a sexual encounter between them.

“Overall the Board considered that this version of the advertisement does not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience which would include children.”

According to Honey Birdette all the signage has been changed to SALE due to timing.