Shoppers at Kent’s Bluewater shopping centre have taken objection to a ‘tacky and offensive’ pin-up girl statue in the window of its boutique, claiming it is sexist and launching a petition for its removal.
More than 500 people have signed the petition on Change.org calling for the removal of the statue of a woman in a revealing minidress straddling a bomb, which is styled after the illustrations painted on the noses of WWII bombers.
The installation has been in the window of the Breitling boutique, which is operated by Aurum Holdings, since it opened in October last year. It has also roused the ire of parenting website, Mumsnet, with a thread equally split between disbelief of Breitling’s choice of marketing material and others stating it is more than justified given its historical connotations.
Kirsty Paterson launched her petition on Change.org by stating: “Breitling has chosen for public display at Bluewater in Kent a highly sexualised model of a woman, with her legs apart astride a bomb, the pubic region of her underpants is showing and the figure has exaggerated nipples highlighted by a spotlight. Bluewater is a family shopping venue in Kent, England.
“Breitling claims to be a luxury brand. Breitling sells watches, not underwear. I was told, when I complained to the shop, that it was all about their ‘proud heritage as a brand linked with aviation history’. I was also told by Bluewater ‘s customer services team that I am not the only person to have reported the display as inappropriate for Bluewater.”
Paterson suggested that Breitling replace the statue with a model aeroplane or ‘moving art’ installation based on the brand’s watch movements.
She added: “You can choose to celebrate your aviation brand heritage without confronting us with offensive and blatantly misogynistic rubbish from the past. Of course you can. Bluewater and your brand claim to be ‘luxury’ shopping venues. This is not aspirational lifestyle marketing. Nor is it a cheeky, harmless nod to British history, or the valour of pilots in WW2. This is marketing watches by sexually objectifying women and it has no place in Bluewater, or in 2016.”
The petition was directed not only to Breitling but also Bluewater’s management and Land Securities, which owns 30% of the centre.
WatchPro has approached both Breitling and Aurum Holdings for comment.