A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post on how I really dislike the advertising for BonBon Perfume and , as it was a Nope!Post it also included a letter expressing my opinions to the perpetrators – in this case Viktor & Rolf.
Before you go getting your hopes up, no I have not had a response – not even an acknowledgement that my email (marked as a complaint!) was received. I see they obviously care about the opinions of their potential market of intelligent, independent young women!
Regardless, I haven’t let this bother me as I didn’t expect an awful lot. However, something has continued to bother me – the fact that every day on my bus journey I still see two massive posters for the perfume hanging in the window of my local Debenham’s store, and I’m sorry, but I’ve had enough! And so, here is another Nope!Post on the subject, this time directed at Debenhams. Having had a bit more time to stew over this, I have just sent the Store Manager the following via their online contact form, again, marked as a complaint –
FAO: Nick Brand, Bristol Store Manager
I am writing in complaint of the advertising for Bonbon Perfume currently in the outward facing windows of your Bristol store. Every day I pass this advertising and everyday, instead of a perfume advert, I see a naked and bound woman used as an object to advertise a product. As a leading department store in the UK with many departments especially aimed at female shoppers, I am surprised and disappointed that you feel this is appropriate and acceptable.
I have absolutely no problem with nudity, and the use of non-sexualised, and non-objectifying nudes in advertising. However, I have great concerns that the BonBon advert in your window negatively portrays women to passers by. Firstly, the fact that she appears at a glance to be bound is troubling, and secondly the placement of the perfume bottle covering “her modesty” with the line “the new feminine fragrance” smacks of the constant negativity women experience about how they and part of their bodies should or shouldn’t smell.
Women in all cultures have to endure on going disrespect and everyday sexism. How can we expect this to change whilst well known and beloved stores happily partake in marketing that encourages the acceptability of such representations and thus disrespect and sexism towards women? Every time a woman is portrayed as an object you are adding to ideas we are constantly fighting on how women should be treated – every disrespectful portrayal or circumstance adds to the acceptance and propagation of the disrespect. From Viktor & Rolf’s website they describe the wearer of the perfume as “empowered, beautiful and complete”, I do not see that in this advertising, I see a tied up naked women with a bizarre look on her face. I’m not sure what that expression is, but it isn’t happy – who is demonstrating that she doesn’t smell correctly.
Moving forward I ask you seriously reconsider accepting advertising, especially those facing out into passers by, that might negatively impact on women and young girls, and perpetuate society’s objectification of women. In the immediate I ask that you consider removing these window adverts.
– Submitted to Debenhams via their online contact form on 13/06/2014. Will let you know if there is a response (I did at least receive and auto response with a ticket number, so will chase at some point!)