Fashion behemoth H&M removes an advertisement following allegations that it sexualized minors

January 24.2024





The Swedish clothing giant H&M has removed an advertisement for school uniforms after people on social media claimed the brand sexualizes young girls. “Make those heads turn in H&M’s Back to School fashion” was the slogan of an Australian ad campaign that featured two young girls wearing school uniforms.


“We have removed this ad,” an H&M spokesperson said. “We are deeply sorry for the offense this has caused and we are looking into how we present campaigns going forward.” Reactions on social media from people who felt it sexualized young girls prompted the change. “The little girls’ parents generally prefer heads don’t ‘turn’ when others see their daughters walking to school, on a bus or in class,” Melinda Tankard Reist, an Australian writer known for campaigning against pornography.


“Why would you want to fuel the idea that little girls should draw attention to their looks, bodies, and ‘style’? Perhaps have a word to your marketing team and come up with something that doesn’t draw attention to pre-pubescent girls already struggling to thrive in a culture that values ‘lookism’ as an aspirational goal?”


This backlash is the most recent in a string of disputes concerning the advertising campaigns of fashion brands. A campaign that featured a model standing among debris and mannequins covered in shrouds was pulled by Zara a few months ago month due to criticism on social media from people who felt it was insensitive to the victims of the Gaza War. Last year, the high-end fashion label Balenciaga, based in Paris, had also to issue an apology for running ads with kids clutching teddy bears wearing bondage-style attire.







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