Ashamed of the walk of shame?

What do you think of the Harvey Nicks ‘walk of shame’ advert?

Some people have called it snobbish and sexist. Lesbian mag DIVA reckons it’s harmless. Me? I think it’s quite astute.

Sure, it’s a bit snobby. Also patronising (not one of those girls is wearing a coat – just because we shop on the high street doesn’t mean we’re fucking stupid). But sexist? Meh. I don’t think so.

The ‘shame’ in Harvey Nichol’s walk of shame is demonstrably not in the hook-up but in the bad outfit. The truth is, no one cares if they’re seen heading home at 7am after sleeping at someone else’s house – what they care about is doing it with smudged make-up, bed hair, and shoes they can no longer walk in.

And if you think men don’t do ‘walks of shame’, you are very much mistaken. It’s just that they are less conspicuous. Lack of sleep/screaming hangover aside, men generally look about the same in the morning as they did the night before. And unless they’ve been at a black tie or costume event, their eveningwear is not all that distinguishable from their daywear (and in fact, I did once see a guy doing the walk of shame dressed as the back end of a pantomime cow).

Anyway, if you think the differences in the way men and women dress and how they are interpreted are in some way the result of sexism then I’m not going to argue with you. It’s a very fair point and I’d probably agree. But I still quite like this ad.


6 thoughts on “Ashamed of the walk of shame?

  1. I too like this ad… yes it is snobby – I mean, just because you shop on the high street doesn’t mean you automatically look trashy in any way. but styling out the walk of shame… that I like.

    I once saw a pacman doing the walk of shame. I actually asked him why he hadn’t taken the cardboard pacman costume off and he admitted that in the cold, with the black morph suit on underneath, he didn’t want to misrepresent his man parts.

    oh how I laughed.

  2. Just read this: “And a woman who has sex for enjoyment or perhaps has a lot of sex is a whore. This advert makes this distinction blindingly clear.” Er… does it?

    So – am I completely missing the point of the Harvey Nick’s ad? Just wondering – I saw it as ‘you can style it out’. And sure, I buy that I would find it easier to style it out if I had clothes from high end designers. Woman’s Hour had someone saying “this ad says that women should expect to feel sexual shame” but as Harvey Nick’s say, there are no men in this ad. Is sex definitely implied? Is that the point? And then they started going on and on about the sizes… was that relevant? I didn’t really notice…

  3. My walks of shame have been, sadly, few and far between. But i always saw it as a ‘Walk of Pride’. Or perhaps a ‘Sex Strut’.

  4. Agree. Love the idea of a ‘sex strut’.

    Oh it’s all so silly. This advert is about fashion, not sex. I really don’t think there’s any moral judgement going on here. It’s not like Harvey Nick’s invented the phrase ‘walk of shame’ FFS.

    The tone is very light-hearted, even affectionate. The idea is that women see the ad and go “Oh god, so true! I remember that time I had to hobble home in my Laboutin’s – bad times! Oooh, Harvey Nichols…”

  5. Laboutin’s? You own laboutin’s? I did think “ooo Harvey Nichols” yes but… I empathised more with the girl who was running for a bus and then had to stop as a wave of nausea hit her.

    really hate hangovers.

  6. Clearly not. But the ad is not aimed at me, it’s aimed at potential customers. If you look closely, the tube station is Regent’s Park, there are also some pretty nice houses and roads and there’s some fairly bouffant blonde hair…


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