H&M pulls school uniform ad in Australia after complaints it sexualized children

H&M removed and apologized for the ad.

H&M removed and apologized for the ad.Daniel Pockett/Getty ImagesCNN — 

H&M has apologized for and removed a school uniform advertisement in Australia after users on social media complained that it sexualized children.

“We have removed this ad,” the Swedish fashion giant told CNN. “We are deeply sorry for the offense this has caused and we are looking into how we present campaigns going forward.”

People walk past a Zara shop window at Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona, Spain, December 11, 2023. REUTERS/ Albert Gea

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The ad, screenshotted by a number of social media users before it was removed, featured two elementary schoolgirls dressed in school uniform, with the slogan “Make those heads turn in H&M’s Back to School fashion.”

It prompted a backlash on social media, where users called it “creepy,” “disturbing,” and recalled their own stories about “being ogled” while still at school.

Australian writer Melinda Tankard Reist, who says her work addresses sexualization and the harms of pornography, was among the first on social media to oppose the ad.

“What is your intention with this sponsored Facebook ad?” she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Little schoolgirls generally don’t want to https://berdasarkanapa.com ‘turn heads.’ The large numbers I engage with in schools want to be left alone to learn and have fun and not draw unwanted attention to their appearance.”

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