Osmo gym in Colombo, Sri Lanka caused outrage after it put up a sexist billboard.  The hoarding featured a picture of a barrel with the text “this is no shape for a woman”. It also claimed to be Sri Lanka’s Hottest Gym and getting into it will give you the shape that you deserve.

 The hoarding for the gym went up in a suburb last week and instantly led to flow of reactions online and offline.

As reported on BBC, “Both men and women shared pictures of the billboard along with expressions of outrage and disgust at the ‘blatant sexism’ and “body shaming” depicted. Some began a hashtag campaign entitled #BoycottOsmo, while others tagged the organisation on Facebook asking them to take down the hoardings and apologise.”

“The ad was nothing very different from the typical objectification and sexist usage of women by the ad industry, which has been selling anything from cars to perfume by sexualising women and their bodies. This ad also attempted to body shame by dictating to women the ideal shape they should resemble, almost as though it is the sole basis of their worth.” Marisa de Silva, an activist, told the BBC.

Later, a few others approached Harsha de Silva, the minister in charge of the Kotte constituency. He responded with the tweet: “I asked the Colombo MC Commissioner to remove this unapproved offensive hoarding. I would not tolerate this in Kotte.

Then the billboard was taken down and replaced with a hoarding by women which read “No more space for sexism”.

Meanwhile, Osmo Gym also responded with an official statement, saying that it had withdrawn the advertisement, which was not intended to “degrade, offend, insult or undermine any one person or women in general”. It added that the ad had been inspired by a “disturbing” WHO report that said there were higher rates of diabetes, being overweight, obesity and physical inactivity among Sri Lankan women than men.

Closer home in Delhi recently, a popular food delivery app came up with eye-catching blood-red billboards. Most of these ads are cheeky and in good spirits. However, others are downright sexist. Twitter outrage made sure that the company apologised for the said ads.

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Reshma is an intern with SheThepeople.TV

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