Karrinyup: Sexual assault survivor calls out Honey Birdette advertising

Honey Birdette's advertising standards have been called into question.
Honey Birdette's advertising standards have been called into question.

A SEXUAL assault survivor is speaking out against advertising at a Karrinyup store she believes is a form of pornography.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, advocates for sexual assault victims and is concerned that advertising outside lingerie and adult toy retailer Honey Birdette at Karrinyup Shopping Centre objectifies women and is dangerous to minors.

She had previously complained to the store and centre management about images shown at the store front, which is opposite an ice cream shop, but felt compelled to speak out when she saw a Valentine’s Day advertisement that showed nipple and bare bottom, and remained for a week after she lodged a complaint.

“The human body can be a natural and beautiful thing, what is being shown in these campaigns though is not, it’s sexualised nudity and has no place opposite an ice-creamery in a mall,” she said.

Advertising at the front of the Honey Birdette store. Image digitally altered.

“This is a form of pornography that simply should not be allowed within a shopping centre environment.

“Do whatever you want to do inside the shop.”

The Valentine’s Day promotional images were removed on February 20 but the woman believed many of the store’s advertisements were problematic, including a recent image depicting a woman in bondage-style underwear bending over.

Ad Standards has recorded 26 breaches of the Australian Association of National Advertisers code of ethics against Honey Birdette across Australia since 2010, most recently in January.

The code requires advertisers “not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative or degrading of any individual or group of people” and “shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience”.

An online petition objecting to Honey Birdette’s “porn-style” advertising in shopping centres has more than 71,000 signatures.

The woman believed the objectification was a conduit for rape and abuse as it dehumanised women, and men, as objects.

“As a sexual assault survivor who was forced to view pornography by my assailant as a child, I understand what normalising it can do to a young girl’s self esteem, body image and future relationships,” she said.

“Those survivors who have been objectified, raped and beaten have very few safe havens to go to as the media has flooded society with triggering imagery.

“A shopping centre is there for all ages and should be a mutual environment.”

A spokeswoman for AMP Capital, which manages the centre, said it aimed to provide a safe and pleasant shopping environment and took customers’ complaints seriously.

“Since the opening of Honey Birdette at Karrinyup, we’ve received feedback from a handful of customers and have worked with the team at the Honey Birdette store to address their concerns,” she said.

“However given the limited authority the stores have to make changes, and how seriously we take our customers’ experience, we have elevated discussions to their head office.

“We are committed to working with Honey Birdette to ensure their advertising materials adhere to industry standards.”

Honey Birdette did not respond to a request for comment.