From ‘This isn’t indecent… but this is’, 1 Oct 2011, ST Forum
(Anand A. Vathiyar): WHAT is the fuss over American fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch’s giant advertisement, which the regulatory watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS), saw fit to define as indecent (‘Abercrombie & Fitch ad ‘indecent’ but will stay for now’; Thursday)?
Would ASAS care to assess a truly obscene poster advertising a local firm specialising in beauty and waxing? The vulgar visual of the poster advertising Strip: Ministry of Waxing is plastered in malls and on lamp posts, and as street buntings. One cannot fail to see it at The Cathay building and on lamp posts around Great World City, to name two of the places.
Thanks to Anand’s wild imagination, no longer will we view the above as a stylishly shot interior of a fur purse, but a shameless, invasive allusion to female GENITALIA! There’s no question of what the ‘gestalt’ design resembles on second viewing, but to compare what’s just tacitly ‘suggestive’ to the in-your-face nudity of AnF is like calling for the suspension of bananas because they remind people of penises. Children will probably be curious about the black-and-white Colossus of a male nude at Knightsbridge, but would be oblivious to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it innuendo of the Strip campaign. It’s unlikely that ASAS would call for a ban because there’s no clause in the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice that states that an ad is in breach of decency if it uses torrid visuals of objects shaped like private parts. It’s also worth noting that the ad is part of a PETA anti-fur campaign, which means Strip didn’t intend to solely disguise a vagina as a purse, but came up with a crafty double-entendre that is supposed to be open to interpretation. The writer chose to ignore the link to PETA’s anti-fur campaign, obviously, but you can’t create awareness of animal cruelty without shock value these days, and if it’s not a simulacrum of female anatomy it would be something equally titillating and bizarre that would not just get adults hot under the collar, but children running into Mummy’s arms crying as well (see below)
This, ironically, is exactly the kind of attention and free publicity that Strip planned for, and the writer was quick to fall for it when everyone else would have taken a more subdued ‘nudge-nudge-wink-wink’ approach. Still, one may argue if an anti-fur message is relevant in our tropical climate, and whether PETA should have pitched this from a ‘shark’s fin’ angle, though Strip would be hard pressed to connect the dots between a banquet staple and waxing. The Strip ad was probably inspired by UK electronic pop act Dubstar, which had a similar design on the cover of their album ‘Disgraceful’ in the early 2000s, sans the ‘zipper’, which sticks out like a pimple on a model’s forehead.
Why didn’t the writer pick on a similar ad by regular stirrer of controversy Burger King for their ‘twin burger’ ad, for making their BK shots look like a comely, smooth pair of buttocks, or boobies (whichever way you look at it) and accompanying the image with a sexist tagline? How about tissue boxes, or anything with a lascivious, slightly open slit in the middle?
Filed under: 2011, Advertisements, Animal abuse, Nudity, Orchard Road, Sex, Shopping malls Tagged: | Advertisements, Animal abuse, Campaigns/Elections, Nudity, Orchard Road, porn, pornography, Sex, shopping malls