American Apparel's 'Lolita' adverts banned by watchdog

Friday, 05 September 2014
After being accused of depicting 'underage porn' in image meant to promote their back-to-school range, LA-based clothing brand American Apparel campaign has now been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).​ ​ ​

Last month American Apparel uploaded a few images from its back-to-school campaign on its UK Instagram account and one particular image, which showed a model wearing a shirt plaid skirt, bent over a car revealing her underwear and crotch area raised a series of concerns amongst the public. ​

The watchdog stated that the images were edited so “the focus was on her buttocks and groin rather than on the skirt being modelled.” The advert was labeled as “dangerous misogyny” and “underage porn”, by the public, whilst other images from the campaign which depicted young women posing in different school locations were accused of encouraging Lolita fantasies. ​

The ASA said the images from the campaign were “gratuitous and objectified women, and were therefore sexist and likely to cause serious and widespread offense.” They added that the images “imitated voyeuristic 'up-skirt' shots which had been taken without the subject's consent or knowledge” which may have the potential "to normalize a predatory sexual behavior". ”​The adverts “had the effect of inappropriately sexualising school-age girls and were therefore offensive and irresponsible.” The ASA ruled that the images had “not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers or to society.” ​

American Apparel has an outstanding record of using controversial campaigns images and has been repeatedly accused of sexually objectify women in a number of its photographs.​

​The ASA previously banned another advertised from the clothing retailer, which showed a female model wearing nothing but a sweater and told American Apparel to ensure that “their future advertising contained nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offense.” ​

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