The new Bras N Things in-store video has been deemed too raunchy by the Advertising Standards Bureau and the retailer has been forced to pull it.
I watched the video and at first couldn’t understand the fuss.
In skimpy lacy lingerie, the model is doing a bit of the ole’ stand up writhing and come hither pouting. She is doing the hips sway 101, the lean over a table and stick your bottom out a bit move. She’s fondling some curtains suggestively (or she is rubbing some food off her cheek I’m not sure which), but I’ve seen it all before in music videos. Oh, and on amateur Youtube channels. Oh, and on TV and billboards and Instagram and when I catch a perfume ad or an ad for hamburgers or an action movie about one quarter of the way through for a five minute scene because guns and breasts go together like cheese and biscuits.
Basically I can’t help but see women like this. It surrounds my life. Women bending and writhing. Open mouthed and big breasted. Fleshy and hot. They’re everywhere. It’s wallpaper to our daily lives.
Then I thought about that. About my insouciance over women laid out for me everywhere like slabs of sexy meat.
Listen: Mia Freedman explains why she agrees with the ban on the ad. (Post continues after audio.)
The Bras N Things video is simply more wallpaper at the shops. You look up as you clutch the 24 pack of toilet paper because it’s such a good deal. Another woman being sexy, feeling sexy, being wanted for her sex appeal. In her Playboy lingerie.
And that’s when I feel like complaining too. Not because it is “vulgar”, or like “amateur porn” but because we have become desensitised to it. Because we walk past flashing images of flashing breasts as we hold hands with our kids and tell them they can’t have an ice cream. Or we sit with them watching movies where we laugh about the fact Kate Hudson played the mum to Harrison Ford’s dad. Or we wonder since when did deep cleavage tops on 15-year-old girls become a thing.
All the while the message must be sticking to them like sap from a tree: a woman’s value lies in her sex appeal.
In her book Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape author Peggy Orenstein writes about the fallout for young girls and women from being swamped with sexual images and living in a 24/7 culture obsessed with female sexuality.
“The commodification of female sexuality and the use of female sexuality, and that very narrow, very commercial and superficial idea of “hot” as being the end all and be all of female sexuality so that what young women learn is that what’s important about them is to express and perform sexiness, has been intensified,” she says. “That it’s more important how their bodies appear to others than how those bodies feel to them. That’s what I think the culture has done to young women.”