'Send me nudes' sign at Missguided store prompts thousands to sign petition
Campaigners have demanded that the fashion chain Missguided removes a sign reading "Send me nudes" from one of its shops.
The fast fashion retailer, popular with teenagers and young adults, appears to have responded to a petition calling on it to remove the neon sign, with pictures posted to Twitter showing the message covered up.
The petition gathered almost 9,000 signatures demanding that Missguided remove the sign from the back wall in their store in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.
The petition said: "Teenage girls feel under increasing pressure to create and send nude pictures of themselves. An 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.
"It is illegal in the UK for nude images of under 18s to be created, sent and shared. 'Send me nudes' legitimises the culture of sexual coercion that teenage girls and young women experience daily.
"In posting 'Send me nudes' in their store, Missguided are promoting a negative and damaging culture. Instead, they should be empowering young women to value their intrinsic value and express their uniqueness through the art of fashion. So we are calling on Missguided to respect girls and take down their sign."
The brand said it aims to "empower women", writing on its website: "Babe power isn't just essential to our straight-talking social media message, (did we mention our footprint is at 3,500,000 total touch points, thanks to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts?), we're also about championing young talent and real women, too.
"Forget the struggle, our mission to empower females is real."
An NSPCC spokeswoman said: "Sharing nude selfies can put young people at risk of bullying by peers or being targeted by adult sex offenders, so it's vital that parents talk to their children and that young people feel empowered to say no to sexting requests.
"We realise that talking about sexting can be an embarrassing or awkward conversation for both parents and children.
"The NSPCC has created a guide for parents to help them talk to their children about the risks of sexting, what the law says, and what to do if their child has shared a nude image that is being circulated online or among their peers. Visit nspcc.org.uk/sexting for advice on protecting children."