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Australia: H&M Faces Backlash and Drops Controversial Ad Accused of Sexualizing Children

Fashion statements should empower, not exploit. H&M learns the hard way as online users demand the removal of their controversial ad

Australia: H&M Faces Backlash and Drops Controversial Ad Accused of Sexualizing Children

H&M, the renowned fashion brand, is under intense scrutiny for being accused of 'sexualizing' children. The company received widespread criticism following the release of a 'Back to School' advertisement, a rather controversial one, from its Australian branch.

 

The advertisement featured two young girls dressed in school pinafore dresses, accompanied by the caption: "Capture attention with H&M's Back to School fashion."

 

Online users quickly condemned the retailer for an advertisement that was alleged to "sexualize" children. The response from many individuals was vehemently negative, as they expressed strong criticism, describing the ad as creepy, disturbing, and sickening.

 

Notably, Australian writer Melinda Tankard Reist, known for her focus on addressing sexualization and the harms of pornography, emerged as a prominent voice. Reist questioned the brand's intentions, asserting that girls of that age do not desire unwarranted attention and simply want to be left alone.

 

Several users shared personal accounts of being ogled at during their school experiences, highlighting the discomfort such incidents caused. Numerous individuals urged H&M to promptly remove the advertisement and demanded an investigation into how the ad received approval in the first place.

 

In a state of outrage, certain individuals urged shoppers to initiate a complete boycott of the brand. Some commented on the irony, pointing out that the purpose of uniforms is to prevent children from emphasizing brands and to avoid shaming those who may be less affluent. The brand, through its advertisement, seems to convey the exact opposite message, leaving people questioning its intentions.

 

Despite undergoing multiple approval processes and checks, users were astounded that it was social media users who ultimately brought attention to the brand's mistake. There was a sense of bewilderment as individuals questioned, "Who are the people running these things nowadays?"

 

Subsequently, the brand took down the advertisement and issued an apology, pledging to exercise greater mindfulness in future campaigns.

 

The company released a statement confirming the removal of the ad and extending a heartfelt apology for any offense it may have caused. The brand is now taking steps to examine and re-evaluate its campaign strategies going forward.


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