Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M has pulled their ad for school uniforms after they were accused of “sexualising” young girls.
The ad featured two young girls who looked like they could be in primary school, wearing black pinafore dresses and white shirts.
The girls were standing in what was made up to look like a pink school bus; each holding pink backpacks.
While there’s nothing glaringly wrong with the image of the two girls, it was the headline that was referred to as “highly inappropriate”.
Social media users accused the brand of sexualising the young girls with the headline: “Make those heads turn in H&M’s Back to School fashion.”
Users on X suggested that the girls’ legs had been oiled for the photo.
People criticised the way the brand portrayed young girls in school uniform, calling the ad "creepy" and "disturbing."
One social media user wrote: “What the hell is going on? This is sickening, sexualising kids.”
Australian writer Melinda Tankard Reist, took to X to share her thoughts on the ad.
“What is your intention with this sponsored Facebook ad?” she posted.
“Little schoolgirls generally don’t want to ‘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.”
@hm @hmaustralia what is your intention with this sponsored Facebook ad? Little schoolgirls generally don’t want to “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 1/ pic.twitter.com/DDwv42GeNz— Melinda TankardReist (@MelTankardReist) January 18, 2024
The retail giant has removed the ad and told CNN that they were deeply sorry. “We are deeply sorry for the offence this has caused and we are looking into how we present campaigns going forward.”