Two Bored Narcs Got FKA Twigs’ Calvin Klein Ad Banned in the U.K.

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority said the ad “presented her as a stereotypical sexual object,” fueling outrage and confusion—lots of confusion!

Two Bored Narcs Got FKA Twigs’ Calvin Klein Ad Banned in the U.K.

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned FKA Twigs’ Calvin Klein ad for “[presenting] her as a stereotypical sexual object,” the agency announced on Wednesday. In the ad, which launched in March, Twigs wears a denim jacket falling off her shoulder with nothing underneath, exposing the right side of her body in what I personally find to be a perfectly tasteful photo. But the ASA claims the ad is bad because its “composition placed viewers’ focus on the model’s body rather than on the clothing being advertised.”

There is so much to unpack here, and I haven’t even gotten to the most insane part of all of this, which is that the ASA made this decision based solely on two (2) complaints from a couple of British narcs who honestly need to get a fucking hobby. Reporting women to the government for being hot is not a hobby, and it’s a pretty pathetic way to spend what precious time we have on this Earth. Get a job!! Stay away from FKA Twigs!

According to the ASA, the ad is “irresponsible and likely to cause serious offense,” and has thus been pulled. Suspicious. Especially because Kendall Jenner’s Calvin Klein ads—which appeared in the same campaign—reportedly received similar complaints, but as Variety and several other outlets have noted, the ASA didn’t ban those ads. Rather, they said those photos were fine because they’re considered acceptable lingerie advertising and were not done “in a manner that portrayed her as a sexual object.” It certainly comes off as a racial double standard in a world where Black women’s bodies are more sexualized and policed.

Calvin Klein has since spoken out against the ASA’s decision: “The images were not vulgar and were of two confident and empowered women who had chosen to identify with the Calvin Klein brand, and the ads contained a progressive and enlightened message,” the brand said in a statement, referring to Twigs and Jenner’s respective ads. Twigs has not yet commented on the ASA’s decision, but previously talked about her pride for the ad with Rolling Stone: “Doing [this campaign] means I can be who I am—a strong woman. That isn’t going to go in and out of fashion,” she said in March, after the campaign launched. “When I’m in my 60s and have grandchildren, I can show them these pictures and say, ‘Your grandmother was strong.’”

That FKA Twigs characterized the ad campaign as an empowering experience, and the ASA is still writing her off as a “stereotypical sexual object,” speaks for itself—it’s purely hollow feminist posturing weaponized to punish female sexuality. The ASA’s decision honestly feels anachronistic, like a textbook case of the 2000s or early 2010s misogyny. It’s the sort of thing that would have had me and all my Tumblr mutuals raging in long-form text posts in 2014—especially while Jeremy Allen White is (deservedly!!) being celebrated and adored for his recent Calvin Klein ad that makes him into a delicious little sex object, to no objection from the ASA. Where are those two British narcs when it’s a little white man strutting around town in his underwear??

Speaking of misplaced outrage, as some have pointed out, it’s also pretty striking that an ad featuring Twigs—who’s vocally spoken about surviving domestic abuse—is the ASA’s chosen target, and not the ad campaigns of, say, a high-profile actor found guilty of domestic violence by a civil court in the U.K. Funny—and completely unsurprising—how that works!

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