It’s Official: the ASA Have Finally Lost Their Minds

Here at Promgirl News we have ended up closely following the exploits of Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in part because we believe censorship in fashion requires ongoing debate to ensure its proper use, but mainly out the morbid curiosity that comes from watching too much authority slowly turn an intelligent group of people into stark raving lunatics. In the past we have reported on ASA bans against overly Photoshopped celebs and extremely skinny models that were at least reasonable in the context of protecting Britain’s youth from increasingly prevalent body images issues. We have also reported on ASA bans against images deemed to be “sexualising” minors or depicting overly sexual images too close to schools which seemed rather puritanical or at least somewhat silly. However the most recent ban issued by the ASA found the line between somewhat silly and downright ridiculous and went sprinting across it, probably while yelling something to the effect of ‘won’t somebody think of the children!’

The most recent advertisement banned by the Advertising Standards Authority is a Miu Miu ad featuring Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit fame shot by Bruce Weber for the label’s autumn/winter 2011 collection. The ad was not banned for being overly sexual or overly Photoshopped but rather because the image, which features Hailee in head to toe Miu Miu attire sitting on a rusty train-track while wiping away a tear, was deemed “irresponsible” by ASA standards for depicting a minor (Hailee was 14 at the time of the shoot) in an “unsafe location”. Apparently the ASA fears that if this ad were to be featured in magazines and on billboards the result would be minors all across the UK being run down by trains whilst posing for photos on the tracks. Aside from the ASA’s complete lack of faith in British youth for being anything more than lemmings who would sit in front of trains because of a picture they saw in a fashion mag, there is also the fact that the image was taken out of context as it is only one from a series which depict Hailee near the aforementioned lethal tracks. Though it should be noted that the ASA failed to ban another image from the shoot featuring Hailee in a Miu Miu dress leaning against an old sign that reads “Private Property, No Trespassing” despite the fact that it clearly encourages young women to trespass in the name of fashion.

In a response to the ban that clearly gives the ASA too much credit, since it attempts to reason with them, Prada which owns Miu Miu said that Hailee “could have easily moved from where she was sitting because she was not restrained in any way”. Thereby attempting to prove that her location was not actually unsafe, as though anybody but the ASA thought that she was posing on active, in service, railway tracks. Then again if you link over to this Huffington Post Style article you’ll not only see the image but a poll that appears to show nearly 40% of Huffington Post’s readers also feared that Hailee was encouraging young girls to play on the train tracks. Is anybody out there still wondering why Britain is often derided as a “nanny state”?

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