On 5th August, a friend of a friend spotted the following sign in Missguided in Bluewater, and shared it on Facebook:
A bit of momentum built up on Facebook/Twitter about it, and Rachel Gardner set up a 38 Degrees Petition that evening, with this reasoning (something I’ve referred to in my book):
Teenage girls feel under increasing pressure to create and send nude pictures of themselves. An NSPCC report says teenage girls are most adversely affected by the sexting culture. Once online, these nude images can be seen and used by anyone, making girls and vulnerable young women the victims of bullying, revenge porn and exploitation. Many of these nude images can even make their way to child abuse websites. It is illegal in the UK for nude images of under 18’s to be created, sent and shared. ‘Send me Nudes’ legitimises the culture of sexual coercion that teenage girls and young women experience daily. In posting ‘Send me nudes’ in their store, Missguided are promoting a negative and damaging culture. Instead, they should be empowering young women to value their intrinsic value and express their uniqueness through the art of fashion. So we are calling on Missguided to respect girls and take down their sign.
— Dr Bex Lewis (@drbexl) August 7, 2017
Tweets had also been sent to the Missguided Twitter account, and by the time the petition closed, there were over 9,000 signatures. The petition closed because Missguided responded quickly, covered the sign up, and said that they would be replacing it with something else pronto. A friend who works on a lot of campaigns said that this was one of the fastest responses to a campaign she’d ever seen!
It got a lot of press coverage (and therefore may be a good example for teaching):
Unfortunately, this is not the only brand doing this:
— Dr Bex Lewis (@drbexl) August 15, 2017
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.