Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boob Tube! TFL Chiefs Branded 'Bonkers' after Ordering Tights Firm to Cover Up Dancer's Bare Back ... Because She's Topless

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boob Tube! TFL Chiefs Branded 'Bonkers' after Ordering Tights Firm to Cover Up Dancer's Bare Back ... Because She's Topless

Article excerpt

Byline: Rosamund Urwin

A TIGHTS firm hit out at Transport for London's advertising rules today after it was forced to cover up part of a model's back in a campaign image.

Heist Studios, which launched its first advertising campaign on the London Underground this month, was told by TfL's agents to add a bandeau top to its image of a dancer leaping through the air in a pair of tights. The model is facing away from the camera and no part of her chest is visible in the shot.

In an email to Heist's creative director Edzard van der Wyck, seen by the Standard, a member of staff at Exterion Media, which holds the PS1.1 billion advertising contract for the Tube, said one of TfL's "stipulations is we cannot run topless models on the Underground". The email continued: "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."

Ellie Howard, the head of community at Heist, said: "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."

TfL's guidelines prohibit advertisements which depict "men, women or children in a sexual manner or display nude or semi-nude figures in an overtly sexual context. For example, while the use of underdressed people in most underwear advertising may be seen as an appropriate context, gratuitous use of an overtly sexual nature will be unacceptable." Ms Howard said: "We're pretty indignant about that -- the image is not designed to be overtly sexual. We use dancing and movement in our imagery to show agency and precisely because we are trying to challenge the way that women are sexualised in underwear adverts.

"There are many male dancers on Tube ads who are topless and there are women in seductive poses and clothes, where there's no agency, yet a muscly dancer's back has to be covered. How on earth can we provide an alternative view of how women should be depicted in underwear if we can't show it? …

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