A British advertisement for female hair removal products has been banned for objectifying women. The Telegraph reports that the Femfresh commercial featured women dancing in underwear and swimsuits. The advertisement ran on ITV Player and 40D in the Spring.
According to The Telegraph, the Advertising Standards Authority reported that 17 people had contacted them to say that the ad’s content was offensive and objectifying. The ASA said that they found the content to be over sexualized.
“Even taking into account the nature of the product, we considered that it had been presented in an overly sexualised way that objectified women,” the ASA wrote in a statement. “We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and therefore breached the code.”
In the United States alone, women who shave spend over $10,000 on average and nearly two months managing unwanted hair in their lifetime. Church and Dwight UK, the company that owns Femfresh, said that they were targeting that type of woman, aged 18 to 34 years old. Huff Post Women reports that the company defended the ad.
“The ad was in a gym setting, and the dancers wore swimwear and gym clothes selected to reflect what was available on the high street,” Church and Dwight UK said in a statement. “The dance sequence was choreographed by a female choreographer and featured moves regularly performed during dance warm-ups, yoga, Pilates, and other forms of exercise.”
The company also said that the close-up shots in the ad were selected to show that the product can create a smooth bikini line, according to The Telegraph.
The ASA’s ban on this advertisement is just one of several international efforts to control sexist marketing. Local officials in Berlin, for example, have proposed a ban on offensive billboards. Paris has officially prohibited sexist ads. According to The Local, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said that the ban is “an important measure in bringing to a public space the daily fight against stereotypes and against violence towards women.”