Is the ASA run by Mary Whitehouse?

A lingerie ad has been banned for being ‘overly sexualised’.


An advert for fashion retailer Pretty Little Things has been banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being ‘irresponsible’ and ‘likely to cause offence’.

The ASA has upheld a complaint from a member of the public, arguing that the advert promoted its products in an ‘overly sexualised way’.

According to the BBC, the ad ‘began with a woman looking over her shoulder in a seductive manner wearing black vinyl, high-waisted chaps-style knickers. It then showed other scantily clad women in seductive or “highly sexualised” poses, including one wearing a transparent mesh bodysuit’.

In 2017, an ad by the same company was banned by the ASA for portraying a model in a ‘sexually suggestive’ manner.

Pass the smelling salts! Sex has been a prominent feature of advertising since at least the 1950s – particularly when it comes to fashion. What’s more, the product itself is inherently sexual. If ‘lingerie’ were de-sexualised it would surely just be underwear.

The ASA should of course tackle advertisers who make misleading claims. But it is increasingly acting as the nation’s moral guardian. In recent years, it has started banning ads that promote ‘harmful gender stereotypes’, even though many of the ads it has censored have been totally harmless:

The ASA’s regime of ‘feminist’ censorship has a great deal in common with the puritanism of old. Mary Whitehouse would be proud.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


domisit domisit

8th February 2020 at 4:18 pm

You would be wrong. It is a [private company and a] self-appointed, self-regulated, upholder of the opinions of another non-official, self-appointed, self-regulated body: the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP)”

From here: https://www.mywork5.cpm

Cedar Grove

7th February 2020 at 10:31 pm

50 years ago women spray-painted ads like this.

An ad for Pretty Polly stockings, which asked “Where would you be without your pins?” received the slogan “Free of little pricks”. Another which began “If this car were a woman… ” promoted the rejoinder: “If this woman were a car, she’d run you down”.

I much prefer a war of words conducted in public, to these puritanical attempts to censor images behind closed doors.

Cedar Grove

7th February 2020 at 10:32 pm

Sorry, “promoted” should read “prompted”. My IPad has a very limited vocabulary.

Forlorn Dream

6th February 2020 at 1:05 pm

If an attractive woman wants to show off her body while wearing lingerie and be well paid too then I say well done, crack on.

Unfortunately in these feminist times the only women who are allowed to be ’empowered’ are the 20+ stone blue or green haired variety. I suspect they hate attractive women even more than they hate men.

Ven Oods

6th February 2020 at 8:49 am

The most irritating thing about lingerie is that people have adopted the US-strangulation of its pronunciation. As for Notre Dame… Victor Hugo would weep.

Stephen J

5th February 2020 at 3:41 pm

Has nobody thought of the plight of the poor women forced into making these disgusting displays?

Ven Oods

6th February 2020 at 8:55 am

Not to mention being forced into those bodysuits.

Despite their best efforts, ASA aren’t managing to protect me, but that’s because I record TV programmes so that I can skip the ads.

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