Well-known clothing brand Missguided has been called sexist and inappropriate after it put up a controversial message in its Kent store.
The neon pink sign saying "send me nudes x" was spotted in the brand's new store that opened in June at Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe, Kent. The sign has also reportedly been spotted on the walls of the Westfield Stratford branch, the Independent reported.
The message, displayed in the underwear section of the teen clothing brand's stores, has not gone down well with several parents who demanded that the brand remove the "reckless" and "disrespectful" message.
Youth worker Rachel Gardner first tweeted about the sign after her friend Rebecca Rumsey sent her a photo of it while out shopping with her daughter. "What hope is there for girls when the stores they shop in give them this message? It's time to respect girls," she tweeted to the company.
Soon Gardner's post became viral and was liked almost 300 times. The activist also launched an online petition against Missguided calling it to remove the sign. The petition was signed by over 8,000 people in under 24 hours.
"Teenage girls feel under increasing pressure to create and send nude pictures of themselves. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) report says teenage girls are most adversely affected by the sexting culture.
"Once online, these nude images can be seen and used by anyone, making girls and vulnerable young women the victims of bullying, revenge porn and exploitation. Many of these nude images can even make their way to child abuse websites," the petition said.
The online petition has also said that asking teens under 18 for nudes is illegal in the UK. ″'Send me Nudes' legitimises the culture of sexual coercion that teenage girls and young women experience daily," it pointed out.
In the light of the uproar, Missguided covered the sign with other pictures. A spokesperson from the Bluewater Shopping Centre later tweeted that it has now been removed.