Even in France, Thong Ad May Be a Buttock Too Far
Sex is used to sell everything from pizzas to soap powder in France, but a lingerie ad showing three scantily-clad pole-dancers is proving too in-your-face even for the French.
In a rare move, a French advertising sector association has called on underwear manufacturer Triumph to withdraw a billboard campaign for its Sloggi range which has been widely condemned as offensive to women
The fear among advertisers is that the ad with its explicit exposure of the models' buttocks will prompt the government to replace the existing system of industry self-regulation with laws on what can and cannot be portrayed in ads.
"It's the strip-tease context which is the problem in the Sloggi ads... It is very damaging for the image of advertising," said Joseph Besnainou, director of the BVP association set up by the advertising industry to promote good practice.
The advert depicts the back of one model wearing nothing but a G-string or thong -- known as "un string" in French -- while two others sport underwear almost as skimpy as they coil around poles.
The BVP, which rarely chooses to rebuke advertisers, said it had received complaints from the public, mayors and other local officials to the nationwide street advertising campaign.
"In particular we are seeing a backlash among women against these type of ads," Besnainou said in an interview.
And the backlash is not limited to the conservative right. Among the first to come out against the Sloggi campaign was Socialist former education minister Segolene Royal, a social liberal known also for her common-law marriage to another top leftwinger.
Triumph has refused to pull the campaign, which could be regarded as tame compared to past French magazine advertising by brands such as Versace and Emmanuel Ungaro, which have included lesbian scenes and showed women apparently masturbating.
But the Sloggi ads, frequently on billboards placed near schools, come just as French teachers try to deal with a fashion craze among teenage girls to expose their midriffs and wear thongs specifically designed to be seen above low-cut trousers.
Feminists say the advertisements make women and girls regard themselves as sex objects and note that until a recent sales boom the thong was largely confined to the sex industry.
"Since the 19th century, the dress code of prostitutes has tended to set the tone for women as a whole," feminist author Florence Montreynard told LCI television.
"These models are beautiful by some criteria, but their buttocks are those of adolescents rather than of real women. Are women supposed to get a complex about that?"
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New York Press Releases
Fashion Shows a Resounding Success in New York City
New York Venues to Host Couture Runway Shows
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American Model to Receive “Celebrity with a Big Heart” Award
Fashion Finds Its Place in New York City
Mills - Fashion With A Cause
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Dreams Come True for Up-and-Coming Lebanese Designer Mayssan Shuayb
Runway Shows to Feature Original Music by Artist Angelo Rusciano
Molina: Architect of Sexy Shoes
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