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Marks & Spencer in sexism row over 'vomit-inducing' window display

Marks & Spencer (Frankfurt: 534418 - news) has been embroiled in a sexism row after a window display was branded "vomit-inducing" for placing women's "fancy little knickers" beside men's suits.

The display at a Nottingham store shows model David Gandy wearing a suit with the tagline "must-have outfits to impress".

Meanwhile, the adjacent women's lingerie features the slogan "must-have fancy little knickers".

The window display attracted criticism online, with critics saying it normalises "damaging" gender stereotypes.

Fran Bailey, who posted a photo of the shop on Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) , said: "Ok, M&S Nottingham, have we really not learned anything in the last 35 years? Or am I alone in finding this, their major window display, completely vomit inducing?"


She (Munich: SOQ.MU - news) added that everyone should wear "whatever they want" but criticised the normalisation of stereotypes "through the juxtaposition of images of women apparently obsessed with 'fancy little knickers' with images of fully clothed men being 'dressed to impress' in suits".

The "must-have" part of the display's slogans also drew criticism, with Ms Bailey saying "huge numbers of Britons are struggling with poverty".

"I think M&S using such a strapline is just really crass when so many are without the necessities of warmth, shelter and food," she said.

Speaking about the juxtaposition of the images, Ms Bailey said: "The problem is that we're so browbeaten by this sort of imagery that we don't even recognise what it is anymore.

"It's pandering to notions of gender that are so outdated that it's unbelievable that it's still being spouted out. I'm disgusted because I'd have thought that M&S was a grown-up store that knew better.

"I know M&S is not the worst offender by any means but this particular juxtaposition is just grotesque."

Marks & Spencer said its shops had several combinations of Christmas window displays.

In a statement, the retailer said: "M&S sells more underwear, in more shapes, sizes and styles, than any other retailer, especially at Christmas.

"We've highlighted one combination in our windows, which are part of a wider campaign that features a large variety of must-have Christmas moments, from David Gandy washing up in an M&S suit through to families snuggling up in our matching PJs."