Hot on the heels of the banning of that rapey Marc Jacobs perfume ad featuring Dakota Fanning, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has struck again, banning a Miu Miu ad featuring 14-year-old actress Hailee Steinfeld crying on some railroad tracks. Is it because she’s shown in an overtly sexual way? Nope; this time the ad was deemed “irresponsible because it depicted a child in an unsafe location.” Say what?

Propagating the utterly wrong message about Nabokov’s Lolita (which, might I remind you, is a book about a child rapist), is indeed offensive and worthy of censure. But this just seems a little bit extreme. For once, I’m going to side with Prada UK (which owns Miu Miu), which has stated that the photo was “part of a serious, high-fashion campaign…based on the set of an imaginary film.” It looks like a film I might like to watch, too, as Steinfeld is a bright young actress. They also helpfully note that their young model “could have easily moved from where she was sitting because she was not restrained in any way.” Indeed.

In general, I am kind of creeped out by how much the fashion industry loves dressing little girls up in clothes that are being marketed to women (sometimes even having to make special tiny versions of them for the kids to wear), but if the ASA wants to ban that practice, then they should introduce some sort of blanket age requirement for who’s allowed to model women’s clothing instead of going after individual ads at random. I don’t see how this image is any more offensive than the hundreds of couture ads featuring girl’s Steinfeld’s age, or maybe just a couple of years older, dressed up like sexually mature women. If anything, it’s better than most, because the focus is on an imagined narrative and not her virginal beauty. If Hailee Steinfeld is allowed to shoot guns and act like a little bad ass in movies like True Grit, I don’t see why she can’t also be the subject of a dramatic ad campaign. At least she doesn’t have a flower sticking out of her crotch.

(Via The Telegraph UK)