Yesterday I received this link from an acquaintance who figured it would interest me, and indeed, I was intrigued. Apparently there is some debate going on in Ireland regarding an advertisement for women’s football, and while I am not all that interested in women’s football, or men’s football, or any sports for that matter, I am very interested in advertisements. Here is the ad in question:
It features a woman holding a football as if it were her pregnant belly, and it says “The most important nine months of a woman’s life“, referring to the football season January to September.
While some seem to praise the ad for bringing attention to women’s football, others are not that thrilled:
“Complaints suggested that the ad reduces women to “baby-making machines” instead of football players and that it places gender at the centre of its message, instead of sport.”
This kind of sums it up nicely, I think. After seeing and researching so many sexist ads, I’ve found that a very common problem is the fact that they use imagery which places gender, sex, nudity and so forth in the centre, instead of highlighting what they are actually about. And this is what makes so many ads sexist. It is not sexist to make an ad about a pregnant woman, but if you make an ad about women’s football, why not just let it be about women’s bloody football? Of course, one could argue that hey they are trying to be clever! But clever sexism, is still sexism, no matter how you sugar-coat it, it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Just for kicks, how would it be if this ad was about men’s football? Of course, the pregnant belly would be kind of ridiculous so you would have to adjust the ad for it to be relevant for men. So how about this: Same general design as this ad but instead there is a man standing in profile holding two footballs were his “other” balls are, and the caption would read “The most important balls in a man’s life“. Would that be sexist? Well.. yeah, it would. The sad thing is though, while this made-up ad would probably never even be created, the other one is real.