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The Schmooze

Underwear Ads Irk North London Orthodox

While some Haredim in Jerusalem have succeeded in getting images of women removed from public advertising there, the Orthodox community in North London has had less luck on that front.

In London, it is not all women’s images they find offensive, but rather those of Calvin Klein models wearing nothing but their skimpy underwear on the sides of public buses driving on routes through Orthodox neighborhoods. According to the Jewish Chronicle, “a claim that a lingerie advert placed on buses that ran through Stamford Hill was ‘offensive’ and ‘irresponsible’ has been rejected by the advertisers’ watchdog because there was ‘no explicit nudity.’”

The Advertising Standards Authority agreed that the ads, featuring five women in underwear — some made of sheer material — could be construed as distasteful to those with strongly held religious beliefs. However, the Authority said that since the women are not naked, and because they are wearing underwear in an ad explicitly meant to market underwear, it sees no reason to remove the ads from the sides of the buses.

The complainant, a member of the Haredi community, expresses special concern about children seeing the ads. The Authority’s response was that, indeed, the pictures might be considered “mildly sexual,” but that “the nature of the product meant that viewers [presumably children included] of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous or offensive, and…the poses of the model were natural.”

If members of the Orthodox community in Stamford Hill really do take offense, then maybe they should move to Jerusalem, where they will be able to not only avoid seeing women in bras and panties, but also any ads with women at all.

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