Boohoo product listing banned following complaint about objectifying women
A product listing for fashion retailer Boohoo has been banned for being likely to cause serious or widespread offence or harm by objectifying women.
The product listing for a T-shirt on Boohoo’s website in November showed a model wearing the top with only thong-style bikini bottoms and trainers.
Images included a rear view that showed her kneeling, another showed her sitting on the ground with her legs apart and a third was an upper-body shot that showed the model lifting the T-shirt as if to remove it and exposing the skin on her stomach and side.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint that the images objectified and sexualised women, and the ad was offensive, harmful and irresponsible.
Boohoo said the images were part of their swimwear category and explained the model was wearing the T-shirt with a bikini.
The retailer said it understood the importance of the issues raised and had removed the images from their website.
The ASA understood that although it had been presented as part of the swimwear category, the advertised product was an oversized T-shirt and the product listing appeared as a result of searches for T-shirts or tops.
The ASA said two of the images were “sexually suggestive” while the image of the model lifting the T-shirt to expose her stomach and side emphasised her exposed skin rather than the product.
The regulator added: “We also noted that neither the partial nudity nor the bikini bottoms were relevant to the product and that the images did not show the product as it would usually be worn.
“For those reasons, we concluded that the ad objectified and sexualised women. It was therefore irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence.”
The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, adding: “We told Boohoo.com UK to ensure that future ads were prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society, and that they did not cause serious or widespread offence or harm by objectifying women.”
A Boohoo Group spokesman said: “We are disappointed by the findings of this ruling because we pride ourselves in our inclusive, body positive imagery.
“Our marketing reflects the vibrant and confident culture of our brand, and is not designed to intentionally cause offence.
“We removed the associated images from our website when we received details of the complaint from the ASA.”