Conservative Group Goes After H&M's Boundary-Pushing New Ad

Campaigns like H&M's recent "She's A Lady" ads feel like a welcomed breath of fresh air, as mass retailers have (finally) started utilized diverse casting to move product (and reflect its actual customers). The decision to create empowering, eclectically cast ads is generally well-embraced — but not everyone is on board, alas.

One Million Moms, a conservative group that's part of the American Family Association, reportedly took offense with the "inappropriate" scenarios depicted in H&M's video, such as two women kissing while wearing lingerie, the Huffington Post reports. The organization also objected to the retailer's casting of "what appears to be a man dressed as a woman in one segment" — which, according to the Frisky, actually referred to champion Muay Thai boxer Fatima Pinto, a cisgender woman.
In the past, the right-leaning organization has boycotted American Girl magazine, for featuring a same-sex couple with four adopted children; Olive Garden, for sponsoring the television series Lucifer; and the Muppets, for Kermit's full-frontal nudity and Miss Piggy's feminism, among other reasons.

One Million Moms has since taken the campaign down from its website. Maybe they're getting with the times. Or, more likely, they've found that H&M has far more than one million vocal fans who are totally here for its moves toward inclusivity.

This story was originally published on September 15, 2016.
Photo: Courtesy of H&M.

The term "lady" certainly feels pretty antiquated. But in H&M's latest campaign commercial, the dated word gets a cool, thoroughly modern interpretation — with a Lion Babe cover of Tom Jones' "She's A Lady" as the soundtrack.

Despite actually being written about a man, the song has some off-putting, sexist messaging: "She always knows her place" and "she's never in the way" are both lyrics in the song. So, it's cool to see the tune given a more empowering, subversive edge via the clip's diverse casting and awesomely "unladylike" activities: picking food out of one's teeth using a knife as a mirror; "manspreading" on the subway; and authoritatively helming a meeting (that's filled with mostly men).

The ad stars models Adwoa Aboah, Hari Nef, Heather Kemesky, Iselin Steiro, Neelam Gill, and Katy Syme, plus Lion Babe's Jillian Hervey, actress Lauren Hutton, and boxer Fatima Pinto. Also featured in the commercial: Pum Lefebure, cofounder and chief creative officer of graphic design firm Design Army, artist Cajsa Wessberg, photographer and model Arvida Byström,and Pernille Teisbaek, fashion director and stylist.
Photo: Courtesy of H&M.
The eclectic cast of women is aptly billed by H&M as "entertaining, opinionated, off-beat and fearless...bad-ass, independent and free-willed." On September 21, the refreshing take on what it means to be (or look like) a "lady" will start airing on TV. In the meantime, check out the small-screen spot below.

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