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Respect girls more petition

8 Aug 2017

A successful petition launched by GB's President Rachel Gardner asking Missguided to remove a ‘Send me nudes’ sign in their Kent store has received over 8,750 signatures and been featured by Evening StandardCosmopolitan, and Daily Telegraph. On Monday, Missguided announced that it was removing the neon sign from the store.

Rachel would like to thank all of the GB family who participated. She says ‘Thank you so much for helping us press this company to take their responsibility to their young shoppers seriously. It's so good to know that so many of us care about messages in public spaces that can have negative influences on young people.’

GB member Chloe, 16, from 1st Hawkwell is thrilled by the response. She says ‘This petition was 100% important because so many young girls shop in Missguided. This sign is making them think sending nudes is acceptable and part of everyday life when it's clearly not.’

Why's this issue important?

In a culture which is increasingly choosing to sexualise girls and encourage them to self-objectify themselves, Girls’ Brigade England & Wales believes that this act of resistance is significant for a number of reasons.

Sexting is harmful and can be illegal - in May 2017, the UK Council for Child Internet Safety published new research demonstrating that girls were more likely to report negative experiences and to feel anxiety and pressure to send nude images. Once online, these images can be seen and used by anyone, making girls and vulnerable young women the victims of bullying, revenge porn and exploitation.

Grace, 15, from 1st Hawkwell, shared that the retailer’s actions were ‘irresponsible, inappropriate and irritating.’ Vicki, 19, also from 1st Hawkwell shares ‘If you don't send nudes, you’re seen as "frigid" by society and will not "fit in". Both boys and girls are scared that by not sending them, their partner will leave them.’

GB’s own members are impacted by this issue too. At our annual Esther Generation Weekend in February, attended by 60 young women, we explored the issue of sexting and its impact. GB has responded through koko, an initiative of Girls’ Brigade Ministries, launching its ‘Worth The Wait’ film empowering young people to make healthier sexual choices (online and offline).

Resisting self-objectification as a norm - companies like Missguided are more than fashion businesses; they're powerful, global brands who communicate specific ideals of femininity through marketing. Missguided’s ‘Send me nudes’ sign bolsters a culture where girls feel their bodies are a project to be improved upon. It fuels a society that makes many girls and women feel that they're not enough. It enslaves many girls by encouraging them to self-objectify themselves via nude selfies as they strive to conform to a narrow ideal of beauty. It robs many men and women of their self-worth, reducing them to a collection of body parts to be scrutinised. It also conditions men to view women simply as being created for their own sexual pleasure fueling harassment and violence. 

Read our website tomorrow for more ideas about how you can turn up the volume of hope for girls on this issue.

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