This lingerie shop’s ‘soft porn’ advertising is undoing its body-positive values

As a curvy 36-year-old woman who has had body image hang-ups her whole life, I recently decided it’s time to embrace my assets, and found myself trying on underwear at my local Honey Birdette store.

It’s not a new concept to grasp that women, like men, have sex and want to feel sexy. It’s also no surprise many of these women often feel ashamed of their bodies.

So, a couple weeks ago while out Christmas shopping, I took the plunge at the lingerie chain store common to most major shopping centres across the country.

An online campaign is pushing to stop underwear retailer Honey Birdette from displaying “porn-style advertising” in its shop fronts. Source: Change.org

Honey Birdette offers women access to undergarments and adult toys that help empower them to feel sexy and own their bodies, right at their local plaza.

Because of the shops’ accessibility to families and children, a Change.org campaign is pushing to stop the underwear retailer from displaying “porn-style advertising” and “hyper-sexualised” images in its shop fronts, which the dad at the centre of campaign reckons is causing distress to young children shopping with their parents.


The campaign has received a groundswell of support from those who agree that the brand’s posters of models in sheer undergarments posing in sexually suggestive (and often in faux same sex) positions, is too much for their suburban shopping mall.

The fact that most of their models are thin and white, doesn’t help either. It’s a real shame the advertising appears to buy into a narrow definition of what “sexy” means. Honey Birdette’s garments say “yes please” but its advertisements say “no thanks” – which is a real shame, because the brand itself is body positive and diversity-friendly.

Giving in to sexualised images to sell garments is unfortunately doing the brand a disservice, because after stepping into my local store, I walked out with a $150 bra that let me feeling confident and ready to embrace my plus-sized frame.

I was fitted by two lovely ladies who offered some on point advice, helped find the best bra for my shape, and made what could have been an uber intimidating experience feel fun and empowering.


In response to a News Corp article slamming Honey Birdette for “crossing the line” for plastering “soft porn” on its store fronts, the brand’s founder Eloise Monaghan yesterday asked her Instagram followers: “Is it 2018?” urging the publication to get with the times. However, she could take stock in heeding her own advice.

From my own positive experience as a Honey Birdette customer, the brand is doing wonders for helping women feel body-confident, but it’s a real shame its ads don’t really reflect that, and instead rely on sex to sell.

It’s a huge contrast to successful intimate brands like Bonds and Bras N Things, whose ads show women in their knickers doing just that, without the need for risqué poses.


The change.org campaigner mentions in his petition that founder Eloise responded to his complaint, defending her brand as being “all about empowering women, also embracing and desexualising the female body”.

While I cannot support these values enough, it appears the message is not translating into the brand’s marketing.