For the last month, I have been walking past this advert:
This is a quote from the front window of my local branch of Bravissimo, and it’s printed next to a picture of a young woman wearing nothing but her bra and smiling widely at the camera.
Now, I’ve never considered myself the world’s most militant feminist, and it’s possible that I’m being overly sensitive due to my own lack of “assets”, but every time I walk past this window, I find myself becoming increasingly angry. I’m pretty certain you can see where this is going… How wildly anti-feminist, limiting, objectifying is it to suggest that a woman’s “best assets” are her breasts…? What gets me more is that she appears to have said it about herself. Even as an underwear model making a living from showing them off, surely you feel you have more to offer the world than sacks of fat gifted to you through biology; intellect, empathy, kindness, humour? Are you seriously suggesting to me that you have NOTHING of more value than breasts? I tried to overlook this aspect of the advert and tell myself that it was the part about ‘confidence’ that really mattered. And yes, I do think that body confidence is important; perhaps this whole quote is a comment on her own previous low self-esteem. However, each time I walk past it I continue to come up with more and more reasons why I think this choice of quote for the front window of a shop aimed at women is completely misguided. What is it teaching girls and young women? That you need to have fantastic looking boobs to feel confident about yourself? That physical appearance is more important than anything else you can offer the world? That large breasts are a thing of value and my lowly A-cups are not? It is perpetuating views about women’s appearance that are intensely unhelpful and damaging.
I believe in the validity of free speech. I think people are entitled to express their own opinions, whether they are popular opinions or not. I believe that you should not judge a speaker without knowing the intention behind their message, particularly if you come across it in isolation. However, I also reserve the right to disagree.
How are messages like this still appearing on high street shops, said by a woman, in 2019? Honestly, it makes me want to scream, or bash the window display in with a cricket bat.