Objectifying women in ads is not new to the world. Luring the audience to make them pause for 10 seconds just to gaze at a woman’s body parts and highly misogynistic content is old hat in advertising.
While some sensible brands are making non-objectifying ads (read my sarcasm), some are breaking many sexual stereotypes — exactly opposite of what happened with the video-on-demand ad for Femfresh bikini line shaving products, in which a number of women were seen dancing wearing briefs and swimwear. So what??? It’s very common, some may say!
The ad featured on ITV Player and 4oD in March and April, and triggered an outrage, if you remember? In a bid to end this sexist drama, the ad for female shaving products has been banned for offending women.
WATCH The Ad Here:
A series of complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), according to which 17 viewers showed objection on how it portrayed women in a downright sexualised way, and protested against such offensive and socially injudicious content.
Also Read: Axe effect no more: Unilever drops sexist ad campaigns, will others follow suit?
Church & Dwight UK, which owns the brand, later justified the action stating that the commercial was made for a particular target audience of women and choreographed by a female choreographer. It also featured some regular moves performed during dance warm-ups, yoga, Pilates. Yes, they mean, if these kinds of exercises are so common and fun in regular life, then what was the issue with promoting it in public. Okay, so it is health vs. dignity. We do it in front of the trainer, then why the hell not on TV? You got your politics right!
Also read: Breaking away from conventions: The new wave of bold commercials
For those of you who are still confused about the motto of this ad, it claimed to having promoted a smooth bikini line. The ASA said in a statement, “Even taking into account the nature of the product, we considered that it had been presented in an overly sexualised way that objectified women. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and therefore breached the code.”
It further added: “We told Church & Dwight not to use advertising that objectified women and which was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to promote their products.”
Interestingly, comedian Vir Das makes the point…
So will ASA’s decision be enough to turn the tide? Well, we do know that ad agencies are ruled by the moolah… and, push and pull trends to cash in on it. So the real questions remain. Where are the value systems? Is it all fair when it comes to making money? Do share your thoughts.
Objectifying Women Started in Hindi Films Right from the Word Go: Aahana Kumra
READ: This Online Fashion Store’s “No Retouching Policy” is a Major Step for Body-Positive Image
Feature Image Credit: Yahoo Style UK
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