Picture from Mom Raises Concern Over Placement of Lingerie Ad
When it comes to advertising, consumers, not companies, are often the ones who are left to wonder when is a campaign "too hot" for the general public. Image ©Dollar Photo Club/gustavofrazao

Mom Raises Concern Over Placement of Lingerie Ad

Any parents who have walked through their local mall can likely relate to the dilemma Jennifer Campbell found herself in. She was waiting in line with her eight-year-old niece in the Midtown Plaza mall in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when she noticed the little girl eyeing elevators doors plastered with two huge images of a model barely clad in a bra and v-string.

“It kind of makes me uncomfortable,” said Campbell’s niece. “She’s practically naked.”

Campbell contacted the mall with her concerns about the placement of the ad in an area used mostly by the elderly and mothers with young children and strollers. She received a response saying that as long as the ads adhered to guidelines established by Advertising Standards of Canada they would remain in place.

Then Campbell took the issue to social media and sparked an online controversy when she posted a picture of the Victoria Secret’s ad on her Facebook page with the question “How does this make you feel?”

The responses to her question have come down, sometimes harshly, on both sides of the argument with some sharing their own discomfort with the ads and others defending the advertiser’s right to place posters wherever they want.

But Campbell, who blogs on fitness, women and body issues at mamalionstrong.com, worries about the impact these kinds of over-sexualized ads have on children’s body image, to say nothing of how they affect women and men’s view the female physique.

The American Psychological Association reports that in study after study “women more often than men are portrayed in a sexual manner (e.g., dressed in revealing clothing, with bodily postures or facial expressions that imply sexual readiness) and are objectified (e.g., used as a decorative object, or as body parts rather than a whole person). In addition, a narrow (and unrealistic) standard of physical beauty is heavily emphasized. These are the models of femininity presented for young girls to study and emulate.”

To help children deal with these images, the APA encourages parents to be aware of what their children are watching and viewing and then talk about it. Ask questions about what your child is wearing and how it makes her or him feel. Try to be understanding of the pressure your child is under from peers and society. Encourage your daughter and son to participate in activities that develop their talents, skills and abilities. Be honest with your child about what you think is really important. Speak up by supporting campaigns that promote positive images of women and girls and be a good role model.

While it may not always be easy to address topics like the skimpily clad model, taking time to talk to your daughter and son about their bodies can help them develop healthier and more realistic views of the human body.