Sexualization of young women – ‘Oh Lola’ perfume campaign

She’s America’s sweetheart, and the star of the upcoming ‘Breaking Dawn’, but it seems 17-year-old Dakota Fanning has found herself a new role; landing herself a starring role in the latest controversial advertising campaign surrounding Marc Jacobs ‘Oh Lola’ fragrance. ‘Oh Lola’ Marc Jacobs new fragrance has received complaints worldwide.

The ad caused a stir when it ran in British fashion magazines and was banned by their Advertising Standards Authority. The ASA stated on their website that ‘the ad breached advertising codes’.

Shot by Juergen Teller who has a reputation for raunchy ads, 17-year-old Fanning was dressed child like with sexual overtones: a Lolita look. The placement of the perfume bottle with an exploding flower bloom cap between her legs was extremely sexualizing.

Coty, distributors of Oh Lola perfume, informed the British media they did not receive any complaints.

The Advertising Standards Authority website stated they received four complaints from viewers deeming the ad as “offensive and irresponsible” as it depicted Dakota in a “sexualized manner.”

With a large number of complaints being received in Australia, the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau is looking into whether they should also ban the ad.

Nicki Paterson, Case Manager for the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau said that the removal of the ad is “being considered by the board and confirmation will be given in the next two weeks on the Board’s decision.”

The Lolita media campaign is very dangerous and irresponsible.

Public opinion from Jeanie Wolf of New Jersey said “the ad should definitely be banned. It has a pedophilia connotation about it.”

Cameron Nicholls from Venice thought it a dangerous path by sexualizing young women as he said “it has an erotic sense about it; it’s encouraging sexual predators”.

On the ASA website, Coty was dismissive of the ad being portrayed as “offensive and irresponsible” as they stated that most of their readers were over the age of 25 and the ad was similar to mainstream media.

The majority of readers may be over 25, but it’s not that age group which can be of major concern.

The binary meaning of the ad can target an audience of sexual predators. This is what is offensive and damaging.

Creating sexual fantasies through media is very dangerous.

Pedophiles have been known to act out on their fantasies. This is where the problem stems from.

This is not the first time the UK advertising watchdog has banned ads seen as sexualizing under-age women.

An American Apparel ad was banned for running a campaign featuring a partially clad model under 16-years-old in what was a suggestive stripping episode.

Public opinion in America finds the ad offensive, but the ad has yet to be banned. It makes one wonder, if the American standards of censorship is too lax?

Beautiful Dakota Fanning is no newcomer to the media. The public has seen her in movies since the age of 6, in “I am Sam” and “Man on Fire.”

The ‘Oh Lola’ campaign will bring a controversial aspect she to her career. Had Dakota Fanning been over the age of 18 the ad may not have been banned.

The question one could ask is; if advertising watch dogs don’t ban ads which are found to be sexualizing under-age girls and boys, how far would advertising campaigns go?

The ad was banned in the UK and it appears Australia is likely to follow suit.

Although public opinion in America regards the ad as offensive it has not yet been banned.

Media watchdogs from all countries need to work together to maintain safe standards in advertising.

Ads depicting under-age models as Lolita’s are not purely about sex sells in advertising, it is highly dangerous.

Sexualization of young women in the media is extremely damaging and ads such as this need to be sanctioned, as they intensify the lure of our young and vulnerable to the desires of sexual predators.