Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsWhere Mary Whitehouse led, the feminists follow

Where Mary Whitehouse led, the feminists follow


IT IS time to admit that Mary Whitehouse was correct: some images have to be banned to prevent moral degradation and civilisation collapsing into one large, odious cesspit. 

In her time, Mary Whitehouse was just a Christian woman and therefore had to be ridiculed and dismissed during her great campaign because, well, the whole thing was such an embarrassment. If Mary had been a young feminist I sense she would have had a much fairer hearing. 

These days you don’t need Mary Whitehouse when you have the all-powerful Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which is willing to ban any advertisement that overly sexualises and objectifies women. Preach it, sisters. 

The ASA has banned an advert for the online fashion retailer Missguided on the grounds that it ‘objectifies’ women. The poster, seen on railway platforms in November, featured a sultry model posing in black sheer tights and an open black blazer while topless underneath. Three parents complained to the ASA that it was ‘overly sexualised’ and ‘objectified women’.

In response, Missguided said it ‘strongly contested’ claims that the poster objectified women. Sure, Missguided would have us believe that the focus was clearly on this young woman’s personality and educational and sporting achievements and not her ‘come hither’ eyes. 

But the ASA decided that the poster breached ‘harm and offence’ rules. It noted that the model’s ‘head was tilted back, with her mouth slightly open, and her leg was bent and raised, which we considered was likely to be seen as a sexually suggestive pose’. It is not known whether smelling salts were needed when the folks at the ASA had to consider this advertisement.

So there you have it. In Britain the state can ban speech, commercial speech by a company in this case, if it causes ‘harm and offence’. That’s quite a wide definition, you might think, but that’s where we are. 

Some people aren’t happy with all this banning. They think if a company wants to sexually objectify women to sell clothes, it should be able to do so. I’m not one of those people. Pretty much every corporation has jumped on the woke bandwagon and I rarely see them point out that perhaps it is not the business of the state to regulate their speech, so they can fight their own battles. 

No, I believe that Mary was right. Parents with young children should not have to deal with models ‘in a sexually suggestive pose’ every time they go to catch a train. It took them only a few decades to get there but finally the feminists have caught up with Mary. Better late than never. 

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