I saw an ad in the underground today that made my blood boil. What was it that made me externalise my thoughts? To actually put pen to paper?
A 16-sheet ad, part of an award-winning campaign from a popular estate agent with the headline ‘A charming period property with a modern extension’. So far so good. The sub-head, ‘Matching people and property in London for over 160 years’. Still, works.
Then, the image hits you. Or if you’re like most people, you notice the image first. An old grey-haired sugar daddy with an attractive young blonde woman draped around his shoulders.
Hopefully you see why I’m outraged.
It’s not the play on words or the tongue and cheek humour. Not the strong and simple photography style. It’s the actual image. The fact that it screams sexism. To me, it seemed like a lazy execution of what could’ve been a great concept.
Why am I making such a big deal?
When I looked around to check if anyone else was as offended as me, much to my disappointment, I was the one getting weird looks for taking my phone out to take a photo of the appalling ad.
I was hoping they would come over and say they were as horrified instead.
Complacency is dangerous. And I truly don’t believe this is reflective of the world we live in currently. Not in 2017. Not in the year of women’s march. Not during this new wave of feminism when women, far and wide, young and old are fighting sexism, gender stereotyping and inequality.
We are so desensitised to everyday sexism and objectification of women in advertising, media, music and entertainment that we don’t stop to question it or challenge corporates and brands to take responsibility for perpetuating this type of negative subliminal messages.
It’s a shame because the world that girls and young women now grow up in is difficult and pressurising. Society expects them to be a certain way. Media tells them to look a certain way. Often their parents, friends and family have opinions shaped by society and media which doesn’t help either. We need to play our part in making sure tomorrow’s generation aren’t surrounded by and held back by normalised sexism.
So let’s all make a pact. Let’s keep an eye out for tomorrow’s generation of young men and women. And for us, today. Let’s call out brands and corporates who are consciously or carelessly perpetuating sexism.
In contrast, here’s photography from a campaign that embraces diversity of gender and ethnicity so seamlessly that you don’t even notice till you look at it closely. It just looks like the people who were on the tube with me this morning. Now that’s real London. Unashamedly diverse and fair.