A lingerie company’s advert has been banned because it showed – whisper it – a female nipple. And as we all know, female nipples are inherently wrong and we must pretend they don’t exist. Honey Birdette had released an advert for a white bra and pants set.
The advert showed a hint of nip through the bra’s sheer material. According to Ad Standards Australia, that hint of nip was a hint too far. The advert had been displayed in a shopping centre, which critics argued meant it could be seen by children. ‘The model’s nipples were revealed,’ said the complaint. ‘This is contrary to community standards and that is all that should need to be said.
‘This is in my local shopping centre. The poster is passed by numbers of families – small children, teenagers, parents – day in, day out.
‘At a time where sexual assault is increasing in the news, this legitimisation of using woman’s naked bodies to sell underwear is inappropriate.’
Now, one could note that children already see nipples at a very young age – when they’re breastfeeding – and that nipples are a body part just like a tummy or a toe in that its sexual nature is culturally informed, not inherent.
One could also note that adverts featuring men’s fully exposed nipples do not warrant complaint. Regardless, Ad Standards Australia found that while the advert was not exploitative or degrading, it was ‘not appropriate for the relevant broad audience which would likely include children’.
‘The bra the woman was wearing was sheer lace and considered that there was a suggestion that her nipple was visible, although this was not overly clear,’ stated the ruling. ‘The Panel considered that the level of nudity was at the higher end of the scale and the image was highly sexualised.’