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Is this advert sexist? This was the theme of a debate I took part in on the Richard Bacon programme last Thursday (scroll through to an hour and 43 minutes into the programme) with Stuart Stirling, the General Manager for Home Pride and Graham Hinton, the Chair of the History of Advertising Trust.

My overall argument was that yes it is but, while the advert superficially insults men by making them seem inept, it actually patronises women far more by upholding the stereotype that we are the ones doing all the cleaning and cajoling us into thinking there’s something big and clever about that (i.e “women are amazing because, unlike the silly men, they just get on with it!”). As andrewthomas1000 says in the comments for a Guardian article about the advert:

I have no problem at being labelled as lazy and stupid as long as it persuades women to keep doing my ironing and cleaning for me!

Men – not so stupid after all!

I’d say that commenter knows what the advert is really all about.

Actually, as an afterthought, I reckon some of the comments about this advert on both YouTube and The Guardian give a rather telling insight into where some of the offence at it might stem from. Here are a few prime examples:

I din’t find the ad itself offensive, it was puerile. What I do find offensive are double standards. The only people who can be openly mocked today are white, English, able-bodied, heterosexual males. As others have pointed out, this ad would be seen as grossly offensive if the white man were replaced by a woman or any ethnic minority.

I found this ad offensive and I’m a Top Gear watching, Red Dwarf watching, not-easily-genderly-offended sort of person! ;-)

I think the main problem is that it’s just not funny.

would any of us see this shit ad if it didn’t have this stupid opinion aired by the ASA? women are clever men are stupid….opps stupid me wrong way round….women are stupid men are clever……hope everyone is now equally offended

It does make you wonder what is going on in women’s heads when they see these sexist adverts. What is it about seeing men being portrayed as cretins that gives them the urge to go out and buy more oven cleaner? Obviously it works otherwise advertisers wouldn’t keep making them.

How bitter and hate-filled can they be…?

Right. Had enough.

Someone out there PLEASE DO THIS:

1) set up GRILLPRIDE company.

2) make verbatim ad with roles reversed, “So easy, even a woman can do it”

3) submit to Clearcast.

4) sit back.

PLEASE SOMEONE. I’M SERIOUS.

(To another commenter) I was actually pissing myself laughing when i read that haha nice one mate, Men – keeping women down for years

If an advert was made with a guy saying to a woman”School, it’s so easy even Women can go to it and actually become more intelligent!” and then have a guy throw some books at said women and then say while she is sitting at a desk, “open the book, stop bitching and sending texts, and learn”.

This advert is disgusting and I want my money back!

Also, if they can hit us why can’t we hit them back, if they are sexist to us then we can be sexist back!

Man

Nothing like bad behaviour in the oppressed to bring out the true bigotry, eh? It’s one thing to say the advert is sexist in the way it pokes fun at men but could it be that some people are actually deeply shocked by the idea of men being the underdogs rather than women? And don’t even dare to use humour either! It’s a tricky one to gauge but I reckon there’s often a very fine line between quite rightly saying that “two wrongs don’t make a right” and bitterly sniping “know your place, bitches” when a threat to the status quo is perceived.

It’s also pretty bemusing to see that frequently made point that adverts poking fun at women in a similar way would be banned or not made in the first place. Please. As other commenters pointed out in the threads above, what about the Nuts advert (“women! Don’t expect any help on a Thursday!”) and the Yorkie “Not for Girls” ones? And what about the vast array of lady-bashing adverts that were, somewhat oddly, used in Amanda Plattell’s article about how watchdogs today apparently “say it’s okay to sneer at men but not women?” (What was the point of those pictures by the way? Harking back to the good old days when mocking women was allowed?)

Level playing field? Equality? As Amanda Platell said (albeit with a somewhat different emphasis): You must be joking.

Sorry to be rather late on posting this but if you do want to check out the Richard Bacon discussion about this ad, it will only be available until late on Thursday night. (Ignore the blurb that states the duration as 30 minutes.)