Honey Birdette stores are demeaning for women

WHAT are “pleasure parlours” packed with raunchy lingerie, sex toys and bondage items such as whips, paddles, bridles and harnesses doing in the middle of mainstream shopping centres?

I don’t blame one Melbourne father for objecting this week to the Honey Birdette store in his local Westfield Shoppingtown. His change.org petition attacking their large pornographic advertising images has now been signed by 43,000 people.

Late last year, a number of former employees claimed they were encouraged to see sexual harassment as part of the job and a legitimate way to encourage sales. One worker says she was whipped by a customer with a riding crop and was encouraged to hand out her phone number. Another said she was encouraged to flirt with customers and was “harassed on every shift”. Others have left similar comments on online job boards.

Sexual harassment is a serious workplace safety issue, not a flirty selling point. Young women should not have to put up with such behaviour in order to make a sale.


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