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Voisins' poster: A ‘tongue-in-cheek joke’ or ‘the nastiest ad in the UK?’

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A SIGN in the beauty section in Voisins Department Store that has sparked criticism on social media has been removed – 18 months after it first went on display.

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The sign, which read ‘wearing make-up is not vanity, it’s a courtesy to others’ was taken down on Tuesday morning.

It first attracted criticism locally in July, with some Islanders taking to Facebook to complain about the impact the message might have on young women. Voisins decided not to remove it then, arguing at the time that it was disappointing that ‘this humour has been misinterpreted’ and adding that their freedom of speech had been challenged.

However, the promotional sign has been the subject of a fresh wave of criticism online from UK campaigners. Not Buying It!, a lobby group which sets out to challenge sexual exploitation, tweeted a picture of the sign and asked whether it was the UK’s ‘nastiest ad’, while online publication The Heroine Collective also took to Twitter to criticise, inviting followers to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Voisins have posted an apology on their Facebook page saying that the quote, which was chosen by an all-female marketing team, was meant to be ‘tongue-in-cheek’.

‘We are aware that there have been some negative comments about a visual in our Beauty Department,’ the store’s statement said. ‘We have taken this feedback on board and have removed the poster.

‘We apologise for any offence caused. We did not intend for it to be interpreted in this way, more a tongue-in-cheek quote attributed to LaNetta Maxfield.

‘It complements a campaign of humorous quotes we have had on display in the past around the store.’

Speaking about the decision to remove the poster, a spokeswoman for Voisins said: ‘It is very subjective how people can read something and we decided to remove it so as not to cause offence to our customers.’

News that the sign had been removed attracted mixed reactions from Islanders on social media. Some viewed it as an over-reaction to a harmless joke, while others welcomed the decision, adding that the sign might send a potentially harmful message to young girls.

Krystle Higgins

By Krystle Higgins
Reporter

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