American Apparel Advert Banned For ‘Sexualising A Child’ - But It's Not The First, And Will It Be The Last?

It’s been three months since its new CEO Paula Schneider joined the brand.

But US fashion chain American Apparel is once again in hot water after one of its adverts was banned for appearing to ‘sexualise’ a child.

This American Apparel advert has been banned for 'sexualising a child' [American Apparel]
This American Apparel advert has been banned for 'sexualising a child' [American Apparel]

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that an ad featuring a red-haired model in a thong bodysuit must be removed from the UK site immediately.

(Although we’re not sure who actually implements this ruling, as the image in question is still available to view on both the US and UK sites).

The advert in question is for the American Apparel Lips Print Thong Bodysuit and features four pictures of the product - one with the model’s buttocks showing.

ASA ordered American Apparel to take it down after a customer complained that the model shown looked under 16.

“We considered the model had a youthful appearance and that some consumers were likely to regard her as being younger than 16 years of age,” said the Advertising Standards Authority in a statement.

“The model was shown looking back at the camera over her shoulder with her buttocks visible.

“We considered that readers were likely to interpret the model's expression and pose as being sexual in nature.

“In conjunction with the youthful appearance of the model, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child.”

LA-based model Kacy Anne Hill is actually 20 years old [Kacy Anne Hill / Instagram]
LA-based model Kacy Anne Hill is actually 20 years old [Kacy Anne Hill / Instagram]

The ASA ruled that American Apparel must not include images that sexualize young women in its future campaigns.

“We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence,” it said.

“The ad must not appear again in its current form.

“We told American Apparel (UK) Ltd to ensure future ads did not include images that inappropriately sexualised young women or were likely to cause serious offence.”

American Apparel bosses confirmed that the model was 20 years old and it featured shots from different angles as per their usual campaigns, but the ASA ordered it to be taken down.

The brand’s modelling technique is to feature models without make-up so it’s no wonder model-in-question Kacy Anne Hill looks younger than her 20 years.

However it’s not an anomaly – a number of images on the American Apparel website feature models in similar outfits who could be construed as under 16.

You only have to search the American Apparel website to find similar images of young-looking models [American Apparel]
You only have to search the American Apparel website to find similar images of young-looking models [American Apparel]

And there’s a near-identical image of model Kacy in the exact same pose wearing practically the same bodysuit.

You would have thought that the latest ASA ruling about not including images that ‘inappropriately sexualise’ young women could almost certainly apply to such mages.

Model-in-question Kacy actually spoke about working for American Apparel in a recent interview, arguing that it shouldn’t ‘offend’ anyone to see models with little clothes on.

There's a very similar bodysuit on the American Apparel featuring the exact same model [American Apparel]
There's a very similar bodysuit on the American Apparel featuring the exact same model [American Apparel]

“I love AA [American Apparel]. I think they are brilliant for shooting models with no makeup, no hairstylists, and minimal Photoshop,” she told TheRawBook.com.

“I don’t think it should offend someone to see a model topless in a pair of tights or socks or in a sheer bodysuit

“I’m concerned as to why American Apparel has received so much criticism in their advertising campaign and large companies have not received massive uproar about the treatment of their sweatshop employees overseas.

“It seems to me that we need to do some prioritizing as a society.”

The latest news comes just six months after a similar ruling, when the ASA banned an ad from the brand’s ‘Back To School’ range that they argued ‘inappropriately sexualised’ young girls.

A previous American Apparel advert was banned six months ago for a very similar reason [Yahoo Lifestyle]
A previous American Apparel advert was banned six months ago for a very similar reason [Yahoo Lifestyle]

We really hope CEO Paula Schneider forbids this kind of sexualised imagery in future.

[American Apparel outlines strict ethics code]

[Model mocks American Apparel plus-size modelling competition]

 

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