"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," Marisa de Silva, an activist, told the BBC. "But 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."
Taking inspiration from real-life campaigns from decades past, Eli Rezkallah has created a new series of fictional ads reversing the classic gender roles. The fine-art photographer and founder of Plastik Magazine came up with the idea for the series after overhearing his uncles announcing at Thanksgiving dinner that women were better off fulfilling "their womanly duties" in the kitchen.
Some of the worst offenders over the years, like GoDaddy and Carl's Jr. have cooled their objectification of women in recent years. There's a less obvious problem, however, that continues to make the so-called Ad Bowl a reflection of male privilege: a huge, persistent gap between the number of men who are front and center in Super Bowl ads and the number of women in big roles. So while brands may refrain from showcasing scantily clad women—to be sure, just 6% of Super Bowl commercials had sexual messages over the last decade according to research out of Villanova University—in many cases, they simply aren't featuring women at all.
Some people are questioning the appropriateness of the ad, given the national spotlight on sexual harassment stemming from the bombshell allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. People branded the ad as "sexist," "clueless," and "tone-deaf" on social media. "Perhaps now is not the best moment to run an ad about how cool and sexy catcalling is?" Jessica Valenti wrote on Twitter in response to the ad.
Her seniors didn't quite grasp that when it was time to work on the L'Oreal campaign. "They wanted to do something with a woman sitting by a window, and the wind blowing through the curtains. You know, one of those fake places with big glamorous curtains. The woman was a complete object. I don't think she even spoke. They just didn't get it," Specht told Malcolm Gladwell, author of Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius. Knowing the scene was a relic from a 1950s past, Specht decided to take the campaign in a different direction. "One of the best things I’ve ever written was done in a moment of anger. I thought, it’s not about men, it’s about ourselves. It’s not for you that we're going to do our hair," she explains. “I’m not making my hair so you should like me."
A leading bicycle manufacturer is facing accusations of sexism and ageism in its adverts on social media. Pinarello, who supply bicycles to Team Sky, recently launched its electronic road bike to much fanfare. The company said the e-bike was aimed at weekend riders and female riders who want to "follow easily the men's pace".
Sonmez worries the conservative government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan — which women like her helped elect — is abusing its power, ignoring women's issues and forcing its version of Islam on a country with a diverse set of Muslim beliefs. "It's about shaping a new Turkey," she said, referring to Erdogan's plans. But instead of fixing a fractured system, she said, instead of "changing the state, changing the bureaucracy, he saw that he could control them."
The videos tell the stories of women overcoming early 20th-century barriers to enter the sciences. Yates, the first black woman to head a college science department, was told she “wouldn’t amount to anything.” Colleagues said Curie, a pioneer in radioactivity research and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, “would never succeed.” And men mocked Pennington, who helped improve sanitation standards for the handling of milk, and said she “belonged in the kitchen.”
“The new Ariel Man is more confident and more responsible when it comes to raising his family”, explains JC Intal. More and more Juan Washers all over the country are rising up to do their share of the laundry duties, and it’s a call to arms that expresses what it means to be the modern man of the house. “The Ariel Man is progressive and embraces change,” adds Prats. “A real man helps at home to serve as good male role models for the kids.”
As an Argentinean woman who studies gender in the media, I find it hard to be surprised by Weinstein’s misdeeds. Machismo remains deeply ingrained in Latin American society, yes, but even female political leaders in supposedly gender-equal paradises like Holland and Sweden have told me that they are criticized more in the press and held to a higher standard than their male counterparts.