American Apparel ad “sexualises” children

A magazine ad for fashion retailer American Apparel has been slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority for sexualising children.

American Apparel

The watchdog banned the ad, which featured a half-naked young-looking girl in a number of poses, because it could be seen to “sexualise a model who appeared to be a child under the age of 16”.

As a result, the ASA concluded that the advertisement “could cause serious offence to some readers”.

“While the ad depicted only partial nudity, we considered that the images were provocative with the model exposing progressively more skin in each photo in the series,” the watchdog says.

American Apparel says the model was 23 and disagreed that she looked under 16. The retailer argued that the ads did not portray the model as a “sex object” and were not “negative or exploitative”.

The ASA did not uphold a separate complaint that the ad should not have appeared on the back of a free magazine, Vice, that could be seen by children.

The watchdog concluded that Vice’s distribution meant it was unlikely to be seen by children.

Readers' comments (3)

  • She doesn't look like a kid to me. She looks like a young adult.

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  • She looks young to me. What is even more disturbing is on their website there are a collection of ads - and they make this look tame. Don't know how they get away with it. The models may be older, but they look mid-teens in most of them

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  • This is typical AA clutching at straws comparing their ad to the David Beckham underwear ad. Many female models pose in underwear and that is not the issue as many fashion retailers who are trying to advertise underwear will hire underwear models, whether they be males or females. M&S are a typical example of how this can be done in a tasteful manner, having have seen the images AA claim are what friends show on social networking sites they clearly have friends in the sex industry as I have never come across nudity on any of the 800+ friends I have on my social networking sites.

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