Hilary Saunders is a writer, editor, and proud alumna of The U. She firmly believes that rock and roll can save the world.
Opinion – We, here in the United States, too oft take the First Amendment for granted. You know, it’s the one that protects the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press (represent!). And in the words of Joni Mitchell, “you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.”
Take, for example, the current case involving a Marc Jacobs advertisement featuring actress Dakota Fanning. A magazine photo ad for the designer’s new perfume, “Oh, Lola!” presents the 17-year-old sitting in a cream-colored, thigh-length, polka-dotted dress. She’s holding a bottle of the new scent, topped with a giant faux flower, between her legs.
This is apparently too racy for the United Kingdom, where our coveted First Amendment does not hold jurisdiction. So, they refused to run the ad.
The UK’s Ad Standards Authority (ASA) stated that, “The length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality. Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualize a child.” The BBC even refused to print the entire image in this article!
While the ASA argued that the Fanning’s suggestive positioning and make-up could be misconstrued as the sexualizing of a minor, in America, we’d consider the British removal of this ad censorship.
Fanning’s body is entirely covered from her shoulders to her thighs and her pose is not extreme compared to other magazine fashion photos or advertisements. Therefore, by American standards, the ad in question should not be considered legally obscene, or consisting of a sexually explicit nature. As Coty UK, the company that produces the perfume, said, the advertisement was “provoking but not indecent.”
It’s funny, then, that the British can air naked people showing off their packages on commercial television shows like “Stop Pimping Our Kids,” but can’t use comedic parodies of parliamentary footage. Or of course, ads from Marc Jacobs.