The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a poster for the perfume ‘ROGUE’ by Rihanna, featured a sexualised and provocative image, which was inappropriate for children to see.
The ASA received a single complaint from a concerned member of the public who had seen the advert displayed on the doors of a lift in shopping centre. It showed Rihanna sitting on the floor with her head and shoulders leaning against a wall and her legs raised against a large bottle of perfume. The complainant claimed that
1. it was overly sexual and demeaning to women; and
2. it featured a sexualised and provocative image, which was inappropriate for children to see.
In relation to the first point, the ASA ruled that although Rihanna appeared to be naked in the image and one of her buttocks was visible, she was mainly covered, and the image was not overtly sexual.They also concluded that because Rihanna appeared to be confident in the image, the ad was unlikely to be demeaning to women or to cause serious or widespread offence. However, in relation to the second compliant, the ASA found that because Rihanna appeared to be naked except for high heels, it was sexually suggestive and should have been given a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.
It ruled that the ad must not appear again without a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.
We’re not sure we agree with the ASA on this one. Does the fact Rihanna ‘appears confident’ really make it less demeaning to women? Other than a pair of high heels, the woman is naked with her legs raised against a bottle of perfume! It’s disconcerting to realise we’ve become so de-sensitised as a society that sexually provocative images of woman have become the norm. For so long, it’s been argued that overt, public displays of sexuality are an enlightened liberation. But why is it only the women appearing naked in provocative poses? Are the men doing it? No. An American Psychological Association study on girls’ sexualisation found that it “has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality, and attitudes and beliefs”. Some of these effects include, higher rates of eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem, and reduced academic performance.
What do you think? Does Rihanna’s advert show a confident empowered woman? Or is the ASA’s ruling disappointing in that its a true reflection of how, in today’s world, the pornification of women has seeped into the the collective consciousness as normal.