Misguided? 'Send me nudes' sign in Bluewater fashion store sparks outrage
A neon sign in a clothes store in the giant Bluewater shopping centre appearing to encourage nude selfies has led more than 6,000 people to sign a petition calling for its removal.
The sign in the Missguided store reads: 'Send me nudes'.
Petition organiser Rachel Gardner, President of Girls' Brigade England and Wales and founder of Romance Academy, was contacted by concerned mother Rebecca Rumsey, who saw the sign when she was out with her two daughters.
Gardner created the petition headed 'Respect Girls More – Take Down Your Sign'.
It warns of the increasing pressure teenage girls in particular are under to create and send nude pictures of themselves.
'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,' the petition says. '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.'
It accuses Missguided of 'promoting a negative and damaging culture', saying: '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.'
Gardner told Christian Today that Missguided 'played with sexual imagery' as part of its brand. However, she said: 'What's caused consternation is fear for under-18s. This slogan encourages illegal behaviour. There is frustration and anger that they've used their brand in this way.'
She said: 'It's not just the Christian community, it's people with daughters who are conscious of the pressure they are under to indulge in sexual activity.
'This is not a complaint against the culture or against contemporary fashion, but we need to say when it's gone too far. This legitimises a very negative stereotype. Young women walk into the shop and it just reinforces the pressures they're under.
'It's crossed a line and it's playing with an idea that causes young people a lot of hurt.'
On its website Missguided says: 'Babe power isn't just essential to our straight-talking social media message, (did we mention our footprint is at 3,500,000 total touch points, thanks to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts?), we're also about championing young talent and real women, too.
Forget the struggle, our mission to empower females is real.'
Missguided has been approached for comment on this story.