New lingerie advertising regulations called out for promoting unfair double standards

Words by Maeve Kerr-Crowley

The battle to #freethenipple wages on.

A revised set of advertising regulations circulated by Ad Standards Australia has come under fire for appearing to unfairly target women.

The organisation has been accused by lingerie company Honey Birdette of holding ads featuring men and women to different standards.

These regulations included visual examples of ads that were considered either acceptable or unacceptable for public display.

One section of the document addressed the use of nipple pasties. More specifically, that they’re a no-go due to the fact that they “draw attention” to the nipples and breasts.

Certain poses that are considered overtly sexual or degrading – like a model supposedly “presenting” by arching her back and sticking her butt out – are also considered unacceptable.

The guidelines are even trickier to navigate when more than one person is included in an ad. Ad Standards took issue with advertisements featuring lingerie-clad women beside fully clothed men, calling it an example of inequality.

This doesn’t quite hold up, unfortunately, as examples used in other section of women and their fully-dressed ‘husbands’ were okayed.

Honey Birdette outlines two examples, the first showing a man kissing his half-naked wife on the cheek, and the second featured two women in lingerie seemingly about to share a kiss.  According to the new regulations the former was acceptable and the latter was not.

While there’s arguably another issue at play – namely, the over-sexualisation of same-sex female relationships – the argument at stake is that the regulations are inconsistent.

The lingerie label has since started a petition, aiming to “protect women from outrageous double standards in advertising”. You can read the brand’s thoughts in greater detail here.

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