News

Hoddle Street Billboard

A stripper agency using females for advertising has been taken to the Advertising Standards Bureau Board meeting.

Strippers Wanted Agency will be under discussion at this week’s Advertising Standards Board (ASB) meeting after too many complaints were sent through about a billboard on Hoddle Street, Melbourne.

Members of the public expressed concerns about the nature of the billboard perpetuating issues like domestic violence, rape and incest.

The advertising image is of six females wearing lingerie, facing away from the camera. Strippers Wanted contacted the Outdoor Media Association and ironically, ASB, before deciding on an image to use.

“We wanted to ensure that we complied to all of the advertising guidelines, we want to promote the agency, not offend people” said Strippers Wanted.

“In fact, we were quite surprised when we learnt the word ‘strippers’ could be used, but definitely not shocked when the photo of the six girls was sent back with a red line running across their hips, where the image had to be cropped.”

The agency offers private party and function services, with a variety of different semi-nude and nude waitresses and showgirls.

And although the services offered are classed as adult entertainment, some of the Melbourne (and Sydney) public think the billboard represents much more than that.

When Strippers Wanted was contacted by the ASB, it was assured this was not an attack on its company or its industry, and that brands such as Bonds are constantly under scrutiny for promoting females in lingerie for advertising purposes.

“Some people just don’t like females in underwear on public display, it’s that simple,” said an ASB staff member.

Sexuality is used in advertising to sell us an ‘idea’, and we tend to be OK with that, until the sexuality is contextualised.

For example, a topless Rihanna selling her Rogue fragrance doesn’t really make a heap of sense when you think about it. What does perfume have to do with semi-nudity?

Nothing.

I never spray some sweet-scented fragrance on my neck and then head out with just my knickers on; the use of sexuality is out of context with the product.

But what else is a strippers agency going to utilise to sell their services?

Semi-nude females are what you get, so using their image for advertising is completely in context.

Some will argue the core issue here is the adult entertainment industry feeds into the sexualisation of females (and men; let’s not forget there is a market for both genders), and of course this is true to an extent.

I’m not here to raise issues about the adult entertainment industry, but I will call it what it is.

But to ascribe problems such as domestic violence and rape, and use Rosie Batty‘s name to support the opinion, is disproportionate to the advertisement and demonising to those working within the industry.

There is already enough of a stigma attached to the industry, and to accuse it of directly contributing to violence and sexual abuse against women across all of society is unproductive, misguided and not going to solve the issue.

This particular billboard represents the industry with more tact than I’ve previously seen.

At the very least, it is refreshing to see some strippers who are not a bad shade of orange and laying on their sides with their legs slightly ajar.

The decision to leave it or take it down now rests in the hands of the ASB jury. What do you vote?

Note: The billboard has been public on Hoddle Street since, 27th of November 2015.

Images courtesy of Madison Manning.

Madison Manning; the creative writer, the literature scholar, the photographer.

Profile: View Madison 's profile here

Email: madison.manning@theaustraliatimes.com.au