Equating any type of nudity to sex, sexuality, and pornography — especially regarding women — is not unheard of in our culture. But when LUSH Australia's "Go Naked" advertising campaign surfaced — a body positive ad series featuring nude women of varied sizes — its intent was not to shock. "The photos are shot not to titillate, but with the utmost respect for these wonderful human beings and their commitment to this cause," a LUSH representative told BuzzFeed News. "The image is completely untouched, as we feel that we should not be ashamed of our bodies in their natural state, and that every single one of us is beautiful in our diversity, regardless of color, shape, size, or life choices." Bustle has also reached out to LUSH for comment, and will update this story should it come in.
The advertising campaign featuring a diverse group of women posing nude alongside LUSH products was meant to be a statement on the wasteful packaging that is arguably typical of many other stores. At LUSH, the packaging is simple, and when you return five empty black pots, the store will give you with a free face mask to reward your recycling efforts. By combining two strong social issues — body positivity and environmentalism — into one campaign, LUSH has effectively helped fight the good fight of two noble and extremely timely causes.
However, according to the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB), the nude behinds of four plus size women are unsuitable to be shown in store, as reported by Nylon.
The campaign was allegedly first criticized by a visitor of a mall in Queensland, when a complainant stated, "It was placed at a child’s eye level in a shopping center. It shows naked women touching other naked women and it is shown in a public place [...] When I contacted LUSH they said that the women in the photo consented so it was OK — I’m sorry but I never consented for myself or my children to be exposed to nudity on our weekly shopping trip," according to E! Online.
The Advertising Standard Bureau's decision to ban the advertisement was based on three complaints in total — including this one — which ultimately deemed the images' use of nudity to be gratuitous, according to Nylon.
Understandably, there always seems to be a stir on the Internet when an advertising campaign is banned. The issue here isn't one of the thin line that sexuality has to toe in order to be deemed acceptable by standards committees, though, but rather that the female body has been so sexualized that female nudity combined with friendly touching can be seen as an offensive or pornographic.
It comes as a shock to many that three complaints can lead to the removal of this body positive advertising campaign when, as The Daily Mail reported, Ashley Madison's "I'm looking for someone other than my wife" advertisement received 481 complaints in 2014, but no ban.
This unedited campaign that features real LUSH workers was clearly meant to empower women of all kinds to embrace their bodies and how those bodies look naked. Instead, the removal of the ads feels like yet another message that the female body is somehow inappropriate, regardless of intent. IMO, that's a much more problematic lesson to teach children than showing them what a bare bottom looks like.
Images: Courtesy LUSH