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11 January 2024

FKA twigs blasts ‘double standards’ over ban on 'sexual' Calvin Klein poster

11 January 2024

FKA twigs has hit back after her Calvin Klein poster was banned over complaints it objectified women, saying she feels there are “double standards” at play.

The poster featured the 36-year-old British singer wearing a denim shirt that was drawn halfway around her body, leaving the side of her buttocks and half of one breast exposed, with text reading: “Calvins or nothing.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received two complaints that the images used were “overly sexualised”, offensive and irresponsible because they objectified women and were inappropriately displayed.

In light of reviewing other campaigns past and current of this nature, I can’t help but feel there are some double standards here

The artist, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, challenged the complaints in an Instagram post on Thursday and thanked Calvin Klein for giving her the “space to express myself exactly how I wanted to”.

Alongside a picture of the poster, she wrote: “I do not see the ‘stereotypical sexual object’ that they have labelled me.

“I see a beautiful strong woman of colour whose incredible body has overcome more pain than you can imagine.

“In light of reviewing other campaigns past and current of this nature, I can’t help but feel there are some double standards here.

“So to be clear… I am proud of my physicality and hold the art I create with my vessel to the standards of women like Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt and Grace Jones who broke down barriers of what it looks like to be empowered and harness a unique embodied sensuality.

“Thank you to CK and Mert and Marcus who gave me a space to express myself exactly how I wanted to – I will not have my narrative changed.”

Calvin Klein also previously defended the ad, saying it was similar to those it had been releasing in the UK for many years.

The fashion brand said FKA twigs, who it described as a “confident and empowered woman”, had collaborated with Calvin Klein to produce the image and had approved it before publication.

It added that all “conventionally sensitive” body areas were fully covered and the subject was in a natural and neutral position.

The ASA said: “We considered the image’s composition placed viewers’ focus on the model’s body rather than on the clothing being advertised.

“The ad used nudity and centred on FKA twigs’ physical features rather than the clothing, to the extent that it presented her as a stereotypical sexual object.

“We therefore concluded the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence.”

The ASA did not ban two posters from the same campaign featuring model Kendall Jenner following complaints on the same grounds, finding that they did not focus on her body in a manner that portrayed her as a sexual object and the level of nudity was not beyond that which people would expect for a lingerie ad.

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