There's no shame in the one night stand, says the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which ruled that a Harvey Nichols video advertisement depicting skimpily-dressed women blinking in the morning daylight as they slink by construction workers, eat street food, and stumble in heels "did not reinforce negative stereotypes of women generally or women who chose to have casual sex in particular."
The ad shows nine women of varying size looking mildly embarrassed but mostly physically uncomfortable (and hungover) as they make their way home after a night out. At the end, the line "Avoid the Walk of Shame this Season" appears as a classy-looking dame confidently returns home looking fresh as a (very expensive) daisy. Not gonna lie: her dress definitely makes that tricky day/night transition work.
Some viewers complained that the ad was demeaning to women in that it reinforced the idea that casual sex is shameful. Others felt it implied that only upper-class women who can afford to shop at Harvey Nichols have the agency to feel confident about their decisions. One viewer thought the ripped tights implied "sexual violence," to which the ASA said, "have you ever seen Taylor Momsen?" No, not really. But they dismissed the allegations and said the ad was "unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence." The ASA also dismissed Harvey Nichols' claim that the women in the advertisement had not necessarily had casual sex the night before — because, come on here — but agreed with the department store that the women did "not have any reason to be ashamed" of conducting themselves in such a manner.
According to the ASA, Harvey Nichols said its intention "was to show that women could also do the 'stride of pride', which was how men were popularly referred to in the same situation." We've never heard that term — maybe it's a UK thing? — but it's refreshing that both the ASA and Harvey Nichols think women shouldn't be ashamed of having casual sex. It would be different if pedestrians were cat-calling or even giggling at the women, but the observers in the video barely give the ladies more than a bemused passing glance. The term "Walk of Shame," which, in my experience, most women use jokingly rather than in a slut-shaming sense, is more offensive than the ad itself, and it's not distasteful of Harvey Nichols to present a well-dressed woman at the end since, you know, they're trying to sell their fancy clothes. The women in the advertisement don't look "lower-class" as much as they seem annoyed to be wearing party gear in the harsh light of morning, which is a sentiment to which many of us can probably relate.
No shame in one night stands, watchdog rules [Telegraph]