Tights brand Heist Studios have been forced to change their tube advert that featured an image of a dancer leaping in the air showing her bare back.
While the dancer in question is facing away from the camera and not showing her chest, Exterion Media, the company who work with Transport for London on tube billboard advertising, insisted that Heist Studios add a bandeau top to their image.
In an email to Heist Studios’ Creative Director, Exterion Media explained that they were following TFL’s rules that stipulate ‘we cannot run topless models on the Underground.’
‘Whilst I know this is only showing a bare back, it still depicts a “topless” model. If we could add a boob tube around the back I think this would be passed,’ Exterion’s email continued.
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Heist Studios took to Twitter to share their dismay and the story rapidly spread alongside the hashtag #censoredbyTFL.
‘We were told to cover up the offending area — her back. It’s bonkers. We were very excited about sharing our image of a strong, female dancer wearing our tights, especially since women’s underwear ads are usually so heavily sexualised, but it seems that the back of a female dancer is unacceptable,’ Ellie Howard, the head of community at Heist, said.
When you compare this advert to other offensive billboards which often end up dominating our commute (for example, the Protein World ‘beach body ready’ campaign or the Victoria’s Secret ad featuring a line up of thin women with the ‘perfect body’), it seems totally ridiculous. After all, what about a woman's back is so objectionable? And we can’t help but think there is some serious double standards at play when you consider how often images of topless men appear in such adverts.