Honey Birdette's new campaign to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Honey Birdette's new campaign to celebrate Mardi Gras.

Racy Mardi Gras campaign censored

THE founder of lingerie brand Honey Birdette has described Australia's advertising restrictions as "seriously frightening" as the label prepares to release a campaign to celebrate Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Eloise Monaghan - who started Honey Birdette in Brisbane - and her wife Natalie took part in the 'Fluid' photo shoot which will be shown in the US and the UK, but will have to be censored when it appears in Australia.

An edited version of the image. The image - with the nipples uncovered - will appear in the UK and US markets.
An edited version of the image. The image - with the nipples uncovered - will appear in the UK and US markets.

"Apparently when the gays kiss it's not as acceptable. It will probably be a completely blurred visual," she said.

"Why can we have a man and woman embracing in a perfume advertisement, but when it comes to two men or two women, it's socially unacceptable and it's being sexualised?"

She also said there should be no difference between a male and female nipple.

Ms Monaghan - who now lives in the US - said the advertising restrictions in Australia were alarming.

"I honestly don't know what's happening with Australia. It's seriously frightening," she said.

"Those fringe groups are really having way too much of a say with the conservative government."

Managing director of Honey Birdette Eloise Monaghan (right) with wife Natalie.
Managing director of Honey Birdette Eloise Monaghan (right) with wife Natalie.

Honey Birdette has been reported to Australia's advertising watchdog repeatedly, and Ms Monaghan said the label had another complaint upheld over their Christmas campaign.

"We're not in the business of just creating controversy. We're in the business of creating love, and these new ad regulations are stricter than they've ever been," she said.

"I've moved to New York from LA and the #metoo empowerment feeling is just palpable over there. It's really fierce. And in Australia, it's just non-existent unfortunately."

"Australia was very free thinking and we're not like that anymore. There are certain pockets that have way too much to say and governments that are way too scared of them."

An image from Honey Birdette’s latest campaign.
An image from Honey Birdette’s latest campaign.

Ms Monaghan said the latest image for the Fluid campaign would be a blur of rainbow when it appears in store domestically.

"There's not much else we can do," she said.

"We can put that ad up in Century City and London and LA, but I can't put it in Sydney city. It's so backwards."

Ms Monaghan and wife Natalie took part in the campaign that was shot in LA.

A Honey Birdette Christmas advertising image.
A Honey Birdette Christmas advertising image.

"It was quite daunting to strip off in front of your team. But I think by the time that we got there, it was so liberal and so empowering, I didn't even think about it. It wasn't until afterwards, I thought 'holy hell'."

"Everyone was just on a high. I tell you what, I had to scrub for three days to get that green paint off though. I was finding it everywhere."

Ms Monaghan said the Fluid campaign is about equality.

 

A Honey Birdette image.
A Honey Birdette image.

"Even though we've got the plebiscite (on gay marriage) through, the fact that this has to be said shows we're not there yet and we're a long way from being there," she said.

"I think the great thing about this is we're not selling product. It's more exciting that it's a social statement, and I really believe in it because it affects me personally."

Honey Birdette will also donate $10,0000 to QueerScreen - an organisation that promotes queer storytelling on screen.

The censored version of Honey Birdette's Fluid campaign that will appear in their Australian stores.
The censored version of Honey Birdette's Fluid campaign that will appear in their Australian stores.

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