Our complaint to the Advertising Standard Board over a billboard advertising the strip club, Honey B’s, outside a boys' school in Brisbane, was rejected. We believe it is irresponsible to advertise adult entertainment outside any school.
The nature of the billboard is highly suggestive, showing only the bottom half of a woman (suggesting a woman only has value from the waist down), wearing high heels with honey dripping down her buttocks and straddling the word Sweetest. Underneath this image the phrase ‘Adult Club’ is clearly visible.
The main message this billboard sends to the large volume of students that frequent the schools in the local area is that a woman’s body is a commodity for male entertainment. Honey B’s placement of the advertisement could be interpreted as a deliberate decision to inform their next generation of customers.
Honey B’s billboards and others of a similar nature significantly undermine the educational aims we know many schools uphold. Furthermore, recent studies illustrate the serious concerns surrounding the sexualisation of children in Australia and the negative impact this is having on self-esteem, body image, depression and anxiety and respectful relationships between boys and girls.
The Australian Crime Commission has expressed concerns that exposure to sexualised imagery is now linked to child-to-child sexual assaults.
The report reinforces escalating concerns among child protection advocates over an increase in sexually aggressive behaviour in children, as young people become exposed to sexual and pornographic images.
Beyond the dangers posed to students, advertising adult content, such as strip clubs in public spaces, has broader social impacts.
This is not the first time these strip club owners have been challenged for targeting school students with their advertising. In response to previous complaints to the ASB, they have made the disingenuous claim that:
“billboards of this nature are showing images no different to any number of images that are viewed on mainstream media at any given time”.
In some circumstances this may be the case, but it doesn’t necessarily make it right. There is a very big difference between the product that Honey B’s is selling (women) and, for example, another billboard selling female swimwear.
Honey B’s is advertising the exploitation of a woman’s body for male sexual pleasure. Other billboards advertising swimwear may show a woman dressed in very little, but the message is different.
As a society, we need to understand that violence, and particularly sexual violence against women, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is fed by the messages that society constantly receives about the role that women play. This advertisement by Honey B’s brazenly reinforces a negative message and devalues women by normalising this form of entertainment.
Prostitution is not only defined as the act or practice of engaging in sexual intercourse for money, but also as a base or unworthy use of talent or ability.
There is a growing body of evidence to support the claim that all forms of prostitution constitute violence against women. The ASB should stop supporting any advertising that indirectly supports violence against women. Where is our right to belong to a society that values women?
The legality of Honey B’s establishment is not in question, merely its advertising in public places and the deliberate targeting of school students. Billboards of this nature are not appropriate in public spaces. They represent an industry that supports live pornography and a form of prostitution.
We challenge the legality of advertising adult-only entertainment in public spaces which in every other medium has restrictions.