Marks and Spencer have come under fire for a window display in their Nottingham store in England.
One side of the window shows men’s suits with the slogan “must-have outfits to impress” and the other shows women’s lingerie with the accompanying slogan “must-have fancy little knickers”. The display has been described as ‘sexist’ by campaigners.
The window was then defaced, with the tagline changed to the words “must-have full human rights.”
A picture of the window was originally posted into a Facebook group called Feminist Friends Nottingham by a user called Fran Bailey with the caption: “Ok, M&S Nottingham, have we really not learned anything in the last 35 years? Or am I alone in finding this, their major window display, completely vomit inducing?”
Speaking to the BBC, Fran explained why she was outraged, saying: “I also feel very, very strongly about the representation of women as being preoccupied with ‘fancy little knickers’, whereas men are presented as powerful and needing to be impressive. I don’t have a problem with people choosing to wear whatever they want to wear, I just feel like the juxtaposition is what’s grossly, grossly offensive.”
She added: “We are surrounded by sexual images of both men and women. M&S are not, by any means, the only offenders but that particular window just epitomises everything that’s wrong with current marketing and how far backwards we’ve gone.”
In a statement, Marks and Spencer said: “M&S sells more underwear, in more shapes, sizes and styles, than any other retailer, especially at Christmas. We’ve highlighted one combination in our windows, which are part of a wider campaign that features a large variety of Must-Have Christmas moments, from David Gandy washing up in an M&S suit through to families snuggling up in our matching PJs.”
Twitter users have also voiced their concerns over the window display:
To be clear: @marksandspencer believe that the ‘MUST HAVES’ are:
For MEN: ‘outfits to impress’
For WOMEN: ‘fancy little knickers’
Imagine for a moment if those window displays were reversed.
Go on M&S …. we are watching.
— FiLiA (@FiLiA_charity) November 18, 2018
Could be that @marksandspencer thinks that women’s “fancy little knickers” ARE” outfits to impress”? It’s just that men get to impress at the office and women get to impress the men at home, of course.
— Dr. Ann Olivarius (@AnnOlivarius) November 20, 2018