London mayor is just pandering to a ‘tedious, angry mob’ says columnist Katie Glass who thinks the move is ‘so patronising’
I HEARD the news Sadiq Khan was doing something about London transport and thought, “Finally! He’s going to reduce my chances of being killed in a rush-hour stampede”.
Maybe he’ll knock an hour off my commute, after reports that in London it’s now quicker to get to work by donkey than bus. Or address the spike there’s been in sexual assaults on the Tube?
But, no. Silly me. Nothing so useful.
Instead Khan’s first major act as Mayor is some censorship, having pledged, like a puritanical Boy Scout, to ban body-shaming adverts on public transport.
You’ll recall this is a row sparked by last year’s Protein World ad, in which a girl in a bikini, right, asked: “Are You Beach Body Ready?” and 378 complained. And apparently Khan writes legislation based on 400 people being mildly annoyed.
That, and his rules for his kids.
Trying to justify this ridiculous act of oppression, Khan said: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising.”
As if that makes it OK that I, a grown woman, now have to live as if Khan was my dad.
Does this mean as Mayor, Khan will also want me home by 10pm?
Will he ban me from smoking in bed? Or leaving the house if my skirt is too short?
After all that’s what this ban amounts to: A middle-aged dad telling women to cover up, because he knows what’s best.
Paternalism doesn’t cover this puritanical crusade to dictate what we can see — a censorship especially patronising to women.
Khan thinks such ads “demean people, particularly women”.
In saying so, he perpetuates the sexist idea that women are the weaker sex, most easily damaged by advertising. That we girls need protecting — the same patronising sentiment behind Jeremy Corbyn’s idiotic idea for women-only train carriages.
Is it because men are made of sterner stuff that Khan doesn’t worry so much about them? Because plenty of ads feature semi-naked men.
In fact Protein World ran an ad showing a guy with a six-pack wearing just his pants in 2014.
Last year ads for an Australian breakfast shake, showing a guy in Speedos and claiming “Aussies Suck”, was plastered on London buses.
No one seems panicked about them.
Perhaps Khan finds female nudity more offensive? Why stop at ads, then?
Khan should head to the British Museum and chuck a modesty cloth over the naked statue of Aphrodite, in case visitors faint at the sight of her bum.
Never mind that even hand-wringing eating disorder charity Beat admits advertisements cannot cause eating disorders.
Never mind that Protein World’s ad ran uninhibited in America on a massive billboard in New York’s Times Square.
Never mind Protein World’s ad was officially ruled neither offensive nor irresponsible by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Ignoring them, Khan has Transport For London establishing their own ad-watch group, governed by his tastes.
Explaining the ban, Khan says he is worried ads promote “unrealistic expectations”.
If he’s seriously concerned about that he’ll have to take on the whole advertising industry.
And start banning ads for perfect tans, ones promoting flawless skin and fashion ads bullying us into buying nice clothes.
Image: Getty Images