Thursday, September 5, 2013

Is this inappropriate Advertising in a family orientated environment?

Would you consider this picture to be an appropriate form of advertising to put in a shopping mall? This was placed on a highlighted board near travelators that go down to the fresh food market, supermarket, and food court level,where most families with varying aged children congregate. Would you be happy or OK with your child - I don't really care which age, seeing this picture?

I posted this picture on my Facebook Page, and told my likers that I complained about this to centre management and asked for it to be removed. I didn't get upset, I simply asked them if they too thought it was inappropriate and they did in fact agree with me. I will be going down this week to see if its still there. I also asked if any of my FoodMuster likers thought I had overreacted. To my surprise there were a number of people who thought I had. I am a little surprised that people don't seem to find this inappropriate for children at least.  I have a daughter and three sons. I don't want my sons in particular to see a women's bare breast in any situation. I also don't want my daughter to consider the outfit or anything similar for that matter, fashionable! A few people commented that walking around the mall we would see the same kind of dress standard, but I do have to say I didn't notice any women wearing a top that showed her not wearing a bra and showing off the sides of her breasts. Generally speaking, unless you are Lady Gaga or walking down the red carpet as a celebrity for one night, this type of clothing is not common everyday dress standards.

Some comments connected this image with being no different to breastfeeding. Firstly, breastfeeding is not sexual. It is a natural way to feed your child. That being said, you can't stop a person from viewing it in another way. I had the unfortunate experience of breastfeeding one of my children in my car only to look up and notice a man staring at me and cocking his head from side to side in hopes I can only assume, of copping a glimpse of my breast. Once he noticed me watching him, he went bright red and quickly walked away. There are sickos everywhere! Many women cover themselves and there a many more women these days who don't. That being said, I can't imagine these women doing it so they can "show off" their breasts so men will think they are hot! Nor do I think they do it so they can be considered a fashion trend. My interpretation of this growing trend is to "show of" the act of breastfeeding and that is natural. Personally, I think its a little more appropriate to cover yourself  when you are breastfeeding, but that's just me. At the end of the day  I don't really think we can conclude that the showing of the lady's breast in the advertisement is much the same as breastfeeding itself.

A couple more comments asked me if I would do the same if a man's chest was exposed. I can only guess your reaction when I say no. I don't think a man's bare chest is always inappropriate, but what would make me complain is if the picture of bare chested man with his pants sitting low enough to show off his pubic hair - or where it 'would' start (unfortunately seen an advertising picture  like this pinned on Pinterest - which I reported) , or the muscle line of his torso was on view. That is when I think it's inappropriate because it crosses the line of sexual innuendo and becomes what I consider soft porn.

At the end of the day, I do see it my right and obligation, as a parent to speak up when and where I can about images like this. My husband was paying for petrol and one of our sons was with him. As his place in the queue progressed he noticed a Zoo magazine to the right of the counter, in full view and with a barely dressed woman on the front. He had to place our son on the other side of him and when he paid for his petrol he asked to have the magazine put back where the other magazines of this nature are. The attendee said he would have to check with his manager and wouldn't touch it until he had an ok to move it.  What made this different to the above advertising board, is that the attendee could easily pick it up and move it. Or ask my husband to move it himself, which he was very tempted to do and in hindsight should have. This is not only inappropriate for a little boy like my son, but inappropriate for teenagers or men and even women of any age who may never consider looking at something like this until it was shoved in their view. Magazines of this nature are a choice, which is why anyone at any time can purchase them, but they have a placement in a shop, like many other products. Having it in full view then takes that choice away from a person.

The above advertisement and even the Zoo magazine cover are not only inappropriate because of its sexual innuendo, but really still objectifies women. Why are we still caught up in a society where sex sells? Why do our children feel the need to grow up too quickly and explore the pleasures of the world before their maturity can help them deal with potential consequences?  Pornography really is a silent plague. It can cause so many problems for both men and women at any age, but sadly, the trend is increasing for younger children to get caught up in pornographic material. Being a Primary school teacher, I have sadly seen it occur one too many times. Images like this, that appear to be innocent, is where it can start.  Enticing you to look and imagine or think about what could be and it can remain in an adult's, a teenager's, and even a child's mind for a very long time. The fact that the advertisement is for jewelry is an after thought. Its very powerful.

I can only my protect my kids so much, and once they are teenagers my influence on them may become less and less. They will be making their own decisions and I will have to accept them to a certain extent. Once they are independent then I will have to accept their choices no matter what. This is the time for me to influence and protect them as much as I possibly can. Two out of my four kids were with me that day, hopefully they will remember this experience and why I did what I did- well once they get over the fact that it was so embarrassing that I took a picture of the ad in front of like EVERYONE! Discussing it later with my daughter she understood why I did it and accepted it was the right thing to do.  I can only hope she will stand up for what she believes in in years to come.

Would love to hear your thoughts. I am ok with people thinking I over reacted. I will continue to stand my ground and I will continue to speak up when I think something is not appropriate regardless of the reactions I get.


Leanne Winter said...

You didn't over-react. The picture is inappropriate. I nodded along with everything you said. I hate the constant push of sex in my children's faces. I find it mindboggling that people would think this no different from breastfeeding! You've got to be kidding me. Good on you for making a complaint and getting people talking about it.

Emily said...

My first reaction was actually no, it's not inappropriate, but I think that's me having seen it and similar ones like it so much that I expect nothing less. Which isn't right.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I don't even know if I would have noticed it, and that in itself is telling. This kind of advertising has become so accepted, so norm, that it's no longer shocking. And you're right, it should be shocking. The more we permit, the further the boundaries are pushed.

CJ said...

I would barely notice it, and I don't think my daughter's would notice it at all. I think in a lot of ways advertising and TV etc tends to frame the way kids see and experience the world, not the least of which when it comes to what is 'sexy' or titillating or taboo. We try really hard to frame those kinds of things ourselves.

My girls shower with me, or play on the floor in the bathroom while I shower a lot of the time (It's that or I be festy all week). My oldest went through a long, off-putting phase where she would commentate my cleaning. "Washing bottom all clean! Washing boobies all clean!" They sit on the bed or on the floor while I get changed, and have seen all my terrifying post-baby wobbly bits. They don't care. The associations they have with their bodies and with mine all revolve around openness, comfort and health.

I honestly don't believe my girls would find that sexy, weird, provocative etc at all. It's hard sometimes, when they want to talk about their bodies, or about mine, and I come from a properly British family where that kind of thing just was NOT talked about, but I make a serious effort that they never get the impression I'm anything but comfortable in my own skin. That there is nothing gross, weird, or taboo about their bodies, how they look or how they work.

A lot of women with young children I know have an incredible fear of these kinds of things, having the power to teach their kids about values and perceptions etc taken away from them by modern entertainment and advertising, and maybe that IS a problem that has never been around before, but I think (as with most situations where there is this feeling of powerlessness) the answer is to take that power back. To frame this aspect of social learning and make sure that our kids are going forth from a well educated and stable background. Then it doesn't matter how much innuendo is thrown at them, they'll be confident individuals who can't be bamboozled.

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