Swedish ad condemned for portraying men as ‘mere sex objects’

Friday, February 4, 2011

LONDON - Sweden’s advertising ombudsman has slammed an advertisement featuring a muscular man clad only in a pair of boxer shorts as offensive to men as it portrays them as “mere sex objects”.

The ad, which promotes a television operator called Boxer, shows a photo shop character called Robert stretching out on a sheepskin rug wearing only a pair of straining, white boxer shorts.
Even if the intention was to present a humorous link between the man and product, the man is presented, through his posture and lack of clothing, as a mere sex object in a way that could be deemed offensive to men in general,” the Telegraph quoted the ombudsman’s office as writing in a statement.

Robert’s “legs, chest, arms and abdomen are very muscular, and the outline of his genitalia is visible through his underpants”, the statement added.

A member of the public had drawn the advertising watchdog’s attention to the image arguing that the “focus on the organ and its size had nothing to do with the product, and even if that was the case, it is no way to portray either a man or a woman”.

The plaintiff also claimed that Robert’s physical shape could place pressure on impressionable men who aspire to have the same physique.

Boxer, which has used Robert to help advertise its packages of cable television channels for about 10 years, defended its position.

In a statement, the company dismissed the accusation of sexism, saying that through almost a decade of a service Robert was known as “disarmingly sympathetic, almost over courteous and in some sense the pastiche of a geek.” (ANI)

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