M&S sparks sexism row over “grotesque” window display


Marks & Spencer has become embroiled in a sexism row after shoppers took to social media to criticise a window display positioning men’s suits next to women’s “fancy little knickers”.

Yesterday Facebook user Fran Bailey posted a photo of the retailer’s window display in Nottingham to the Feminist Friends Nottingham group, branding it “vomit inducing”.

The display in question features the star of one of its two Christmas adverts David Gandy posing in a suit with the tagline “must-have outfits to impress”, while a second display in the same window depicts a woman in her underwear next to the tagline “must-have fancy little knickers”.

In her post to the Facebook group, which has since gone viral, Bailey 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?”

“It’s pandering to notions of gender that are so outdated that it’s unbelievable that it’s still being spouted out,” Bailey continued.

“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.”

Although Bailey said she believes everyone has the right to wear “whatever they want”, she said this juxtaposition encourages the “normalisation of damaging gender stereotypes” and suggests women are obsessed with “fancy little knickers”.

In response to the accusations, 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.”

The strapline “must-have” is featured in the retailer’s Christmas advert for its home and clothing division, one of two it has released this year to separate it from its grocery business.

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette’s free daily email newsletter


  1. No evidence of the said induced vomit therefore we can only conclude some slight exageration here.
    This window would have been one of 6 – 10 designed for this theme including other womenswear windows. The only ‘issue’ if there is one is the window adjacencies putting a lingerie/underwear window nest to meswear and not next to womenswear as it would have been imaging when drafted.
    Nothing wrong with a lingerie wimdpow
    Nothing wrong with th quality of dressing
    Placement could be better but DON’t have a go at the young underpaid VM team yhat executed this action, how do they feel now Miss Bigot!??

  2. Awww poor M&S, I’m sure they weren’t making sexist statements with their campaign. Though their Christmas advert isn’t as rib tickling as some.. (Boots and others did well haha) it’s showing a bloke doing the dishes which is exactly as it should be. Let’s not go getting too touchy eh?

  3. Here we are again, the outrage Police are on patrol. We seem to have an entire generation of entitled brats who look for any and every reason to be outraged, offended and upset.

    Can someone remind me why social media was meant to be a good thing? It seems to have bred a collective of people who think we really care about their opinions on such a mundane thing as an M&S window.

  4. It makes me livid to see headlines like this.
    The definition of grotesque – comically or repulsively ugly or distorted…
    Marks & Spencer window display grotesque? I don’t think so…
    Fran Bailey – get a life and be outraged at something that truly warrants outrage!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here