Bra commercial cited as ‘most sexist ad’ of 2011

Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) announced FIX as the "winner" of its annual competition.

March 7, 2012 02:40
2 minute read.
AXE deodorant ad

AXE deodorant ad 390. (photo credit: YouTube)


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Lingerie retailer FIX was cited Tuesday as creator of 2011’s “Most Sexist Ad,” for an online commercial that encouraged young women to photograph themselves in nothing but a bra.

The Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) announced FIX as the winner of its annual competition – which highlights commercials that particularly degrade and objectify women – at a special mock ceremony held in conjunction with the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women.

The event was designed to mark International Women’s Day, which will take place Thursday.

“FIX crossed the red line of using the female body as a mere sexual object,” said WIZO Israel chairwoman Gila Oshrat.

“In order to sell a bra, they needed to have young women strip. The assumption that sex sells is too high a price for our society and there must be stricter limits for marketing and advertising,” she added.

Five commercials made it to the final round of the competition, including ads by AXE deodorant, the Proportzia cosmetic surgery clinic, Goldstar Beer and Do It! Kitchen manufacturers.

FIX’s winning commercial encouraged young women to photograph themselves in only a bra and upload the photos onto the company’s Facebook page for public viewing.

This is the fourth year that WIZO has identified television and print commercials that portray women in a negative way or depict them in weak or derogatory positions. The final selection was chosen by a panel of professional women and high-profile experts on feminism.

“All the advertisements selected reflect a grim picture of women and girls being shown from degrading and humiliating perspectives that not only distort perceptions but create a primitive image of woman and the relationship between the sexes,” said Oshrat.

She said many of the commercials contained pornographic elements or were entrenched in stereotypes of women as submissive, superficial, dependent or stupid.

Oshrat called on the Second Authority for Television and Radio to enforce stricter ethical standards for these mediums and to expand its definition of what “hurts public feelings” – to include portrayals of women that are degrading or perpetuate stereotypes.

Speaking in the committee following the mock awards ceremony, advertising executive Danny Nettler said the problem had less to do with how women are portrayed in commercial advertising, and more to do with their overall standing in society.

“Advertising is not education, it is just a way to sell a product,” he said.

“We do not shape the nation’s views and you should be dealing with the problem and not simply shooting the messengers.”

Committee chairwoman MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said, however, that Israeli prime-time television programs are guilty of presenting women as only a “body with no soul.”

“Even though the Advertising Standards Authority is not the Education Ministry, it could at least show some responsibility and chose not to transmit content that is humiliating and degrading [to] women,” she said, adding that she planned to submit legislation that would heavily fine advertisers who degrade women.

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