The Nottingham branch of Marks and Spencer has been criticised by feminists across the country after featuring a very alluringly ‘sexist’ Christmas window display. On one side of the doors to the shop, the backdrop is a photo of male model David Gandy and the mannequins are done up in natty three-piece suits. The slogan reads: ‘Must have outfits to impress’. On the other side of the doors is a photo of a female model in some red and black lingerie, with a bunch of mannequins also in lingerie. The slogan reads ‘Must have fancy little knickers’
M&S have said the display was a riff off of its Christmas advert, telling The Guardian:’We’ve highlighted one combination in our windows, which are part of a wider campaign that features a large variety of must-have Christmas moments, from David Gandy washing up in an M&S suit through to families snuggling up in our matching PJs.’
The thing is, if the shoppers of Nottingham so easily took the display out of context, maybe it's because the advert hasn't had enough sway. The ad is great, but it’s not exactly, until now, big enough to have made 'must have fancy little knickers' a buzz-phrase, is it?
Feminist organisation FiLiA called on M&S to explain who signed the display off, and someone defaced the sign so that the slogan on the womenswear side of the shop window read ‘Must have fancy little FULL HUMAN RIGHTS’
Of course, of course, a display in a window isn’t eroding anyone’s human rights, but perhaps it’s worth all retailers considering that this Christmas, the only thing people want to wear is a nice big cosy jumper, some pajamas and the burden of having to buy every single person they love a present from the sorts of shop that are busy and overheated and messy and did we mention busy so just make the display look nice or something, not a scene out of the Playboy mansion.
M&S has now covered up the display, and we look forward to seeing whatever they replace it with - male mannequin in some fancy knickers, perhaps? Fairy godmother in full panto attire?