Recently headlines around the globe were made when the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned a Miu Miu advertisement. The advert showed Hailee Steinfeld dressed in the Autumn/Winter ’11 collection, sitting on railway tracks and crying. The campaign was photographed by Bruce Webber, and also included shots of Hailee surrounded by the infamous glitter shoes and another of her standing near some railway tracks. The reasoning behind the ASA’s decision was that this advertisement was irresponsible and put a child in a dangerous position, as Hailee is only fourteen.
Other recently banned advertisements include a Marc Jacobs perfume ad starring Dakota Fanning, seventeen. It was deemed that the perfume bottle was placed in a provocative way between her legs, and was pulled by the ASA for sexualizing a child. They claimed that she looked closer to sixteen than seventeen in the photographs. The ASA also recently banned an M&S lingerie advertisement for being overly sexual. The M&S advertisement was running on the sides of busses, and not in magazines like the Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu ads. The ASA has been trying to crack down on sexuality and the sexualisation of children since October when a government-backed report targeted this issue as a major problem.
Maybe this is an attempt by the ASA to bring regulation to the fashion industry, but there are other problems that need to be sorted out first. If fourteen-year-old Hailee was put in a dangerous position by sitting on some railway tracks, imagine the dangerous positions that Kate Moss was put in when she began modelling at fourteen. New standards trying to regulate the age of catwalk models to sixteen are being put in place in New York and other fashion capitals, but it is easy to lie, especially when casting directors are willing to believe the lies. None of these recently banned advertisements were any more or less sexual or dangerous than other campaigns at this time. We need to ask ourselves are we really at all offended by these images? Or is this just another way to curb creativity?
Image – Hannah Anderson