Critics have slammed Marks & Spencer for a “grotesque” and “vomit-inducing” Christmas window display advertising women’s “fancy little knickers” next to men’s suits.
The windows in one of the retailer’s Nottingham shops shows the model David Gandy modelling suits with the tagline “must-have outfits to impress” adjacent to red and black lingerie behind the tagline “must-have fancy little knickers”.
Shopper Fran Bailey posted a photo in the Facebook group Feminist Friends Nottingham, with the comment: “OK, M&S Nottingham, have we really not learned anything in the last 35 years?
"Or am I alone in finding this, their major window display, completely vomit inducing?”
While Ms Bailey said she believed in the rights of everyone to wear “whatever they want”, she said she objected to the window for both its “normalisation of damaging gender stereotypes through the juxtaposition of images of women apparently obsessed with ‘fancy little knickers’ with images of fully clothed men being ‘dressed to impress’ in suits”, and also the slogan “must-have” when “huge numbers of Britons are struggling with poverty”.
She said: “I think M&S using such a strapline is just really crass when so many are without the necessities of warmth, shelter and food.”
She added in relation to the juxtaposition of images: “The problem is that we’re so browbeaten by this sort of imagery that we don’t even recognise what it is anymore.
“It’s pandering to notions of gender that are so outdated that it’s unbelievable that it’s still being spouted out.
"I’m disgusted because I’d have thought that M&S was a grown-up store that knew better.
“I know M&S is not the worst offender by any means but this particular juxtaposition is just grotesque.”
Meanwhile feminist organisation FiLiA challenged the retail giant to imagine reversing the window displays, using the "#sexist" to attack the placement of the mannequins and adverts.
While others branded it "sexist" and "tone deaf".
Others argued it sent the "wrong message" to "impressionable young men and women".
However, not everyone was critical of the display, with some arguing that people had got "their pants... in a twist over absolutely nothing".
While others said the "world is going nuts" and told the company to "keep up the great work".
In response to the criticism, Marks & Spencer said it "sells more underwear, in more shapes, sizes and styles, than any other retailer, especially at Christmas".
The company added that its festive advert features David Gandy doing the washing up in a pair of rubber gloves, and families in matching pyjama sets.
“We’ve highlighted one combination in our windows," a spokesperson said, continuing that the window display was "part of a wider campaign that features a large variety of must-have Christmas moments, from David Gandy washing up in an M&S suit through to families snuggling up in our matching PJs.”