So let’s get this right! An advertisement from Jigsaw, one of British fashion’s most mainstream, middle market, don’t-scare-the-horses brands, has been banned for objectifying women. How silly.
The black and white picture in question displays a girl in the Berkshire countryside climbing over an old stile while sporting a pair of hiking boots, a white fisherman’s rib sweater, and as far as one can see, a brief sliver of a swimsuit. As a result. Jigsaw stands accused of being irresponsible and causing serious offence.
Laughably, one of the points made by the Advertising Standards Authority, in passing down judgment, is that she seemed to be out for a trek or stroll in the woods where people would not ordinarily be disrobed in that way.
The image was emailed to customers as part of the brand’s Autumn/Winter Into The Woods campaign, and it no more objectifies women, although it could turn hiking boots into fetishwear.
It depends on how you’re looking at it, or who’s looking at it, but all that I could see was a lovely, peaceful and sensitive image, thought up by a team of in-house staff as one of the add ons to the main campaign.
The picture, captioned ‘These boots were made for walking’, a nod to the 1965 hit song by Nancy Sinatra, which enunciated loud and clear that she was a woman capable of walking out of any situation, not to her taste.
Does this picture actually depict women as helpless or as hapless sex objects, and that this sort of thing should be something that we should be protected from? I don’t think so! Women wanted their rights and they got them, but now that they have them they yell from the rooftops that they’re being discriminated against or that men are ogling at them far too much.
Into The Woods was created by Joanna Sykes, Jigsaw’s Creative Director since 2019. Joanna Sykes has a hugely thriving track record in women’s fashion, especially in clothes that reverberate with grown up’s, real women. She did a stint at Aquascutum before going to Nicole Farhi for a few years.
Farhi and Jigsaw are both labels that have delivered reliable staples for women’s professional wardrobes. They’re garments for real-life rather than flights of fantasy. This is where advertising comes in because successful advertising catches the eye, which in this case, it clearly has done so.
Perhaps there’s been an outcry about the image because she has almost all of her bottom on show – she could have at least put on larger pants, and to be fair, going for a hike in the countryside, well, those pants just wouldn’t cut it, her legs would get torn to shreds by the brambles and nettles, but then the advert is totally sexualised for engagement.
But there are people out there that are offended and shocked by these catalogues, which are full of models, men and women in strange and meaningless poses to create a specific image. How long before we cancel sex altogether?
We’re apparently living in a free society and as such, it shouldn’t matter if a woman is clothed suitably or not – that’s the whole point of living in a democracy.
We’re meant to be an open-minded society, not like a bunch of disapproving old women, but all we keep doing is banning things in Britain and cancelling people, which is an extremely dangerous, slippery road to totalitarianism and hell.
It all comes down to this, all they need to do is look at the sales before the advertisement and then the ad after. If the advertisement was inappropriate or upsets people, sales will go down, but if people don’t care and believe it’s good marketing, sales will go up, so let the market decide instead of a few easily offended people.