High-street cosmetics store Lush has come under fire for promoting breast binders to customers.
In exchange for a £7 donation to pro-transgender charity G(end)er Swap, customers can pick up a breast binder at the firm’s branch in Paddington.
Breast binders are worn by women to make them appear more masculine. They work by compressing the chest to hinder breast development. A 2015 study revealed that physical consequences of using them can include broken ribs, collapsed lungs, back pain, spinal compression, blood clots and breathing difficulties.
Customers strongly criticised the company’s Instagram announcement, with one customer saying it was “utterly horrendous marketing this to young girls to mutilate their bodies with. There’s nothing wrong with their healthy bodies”.
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Another customer added: “This is promoting self harm amongst confused young girls. This should be stopped immediately.”
This is promoting self harm amongst confused young girls.
One customer said that they would “no longer purchase anything from you if you are promoting this self-harm to young, healthy bodies. Shame on you!!”
Breast binding for teenage girls is not a game. There are serious safeguarding and health implications in this practice, something that Lush have not engaged with. https://t.co/q02WjKKdNX
— Evidence-Based Social Work Alliance (@ebswa) November 10, 2021
Social workers group the Evidence-Based Social Work Alliance tweeted: “Breast binding for teenage girls is not a game”. They blasted Lush for not considering the “serious safeguarding and health implications in this practice”.
In response, G(end)er Swap denied that breast binders can have negative health effects, but did not provide evidence to support this.
Last year, the BBC came under fire for promoting the use of breast binders in a programme aimed at young people.
During the BBC Three programme ‘The Unshockable Dr Ronx’, Frankie, 17, revealed that she wore a breast binder, but it was causing her medical issues.
Rather than investigating Frankie’s reasons for wanting to wear a binder, Dr Ronx recommended her to ask to be referred to a gender clinic, and advised viewers they could also self-refer to a gender clinic, or could seek out advice from controversial trans-activist organisations such as Gendered Intelligence.