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H&M Withdraws School Uniform Ad Amid Sexualisation Claims

H&M has pulled an advertisement for school uniforms amid accusations of sexualising young children. The campaign featured a photo of two primary school-aged girls with the slogan: “Make those heads turn in H&M’s Back to School fashion.” The ad, which was exclusively running in Australia, has been withdrawn, and H&M issued a public apology.

Mumsnet founder and Chief Executive, Justine Roberts, expressed strong disapproval, stating that the advert “should never have been created in the first place.” Social media erupted with criticism, with individuals labelling the campaign as “vile” and “disgusting.”

H&M responded with a statement, acknowledging the offence caused and expressing deep regret: “We are deeply sorry for the offence this has caused and will look into how we present campaigns going forward.”

Justine Roberts highlighted the ongoing concerns of Mumsnet users regarding the sexualisation of children. She referred to Mumsnet’s Let Girls Be Girls campaign, launched in 2010, which calls on retailers to commit to not selling products that play upon, emphasize, or exploit children’s sexuality.

Roberts commented, “It’s disappointing to see that, 14 years later, retailers are still creating inappropriate adverts that prematurely sexualize young girls.” While acknowledging H&M’s decision to remove the advert, she stressed that it should never have been created in the first place.

This incident follows a broader trend of increased scrutiny on advertisements that may sexualize children. Last year, online retailer Temu faced consequences when the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned one of its adverts for portraying a girl aged between eight and 11 in a bikini pose deemed “quite adult for a girl of her age.” The ASA also banned four other adverts for showing sexual images and pictures that objectified women.

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