This Femfresh Ad Has Just Been Banned For Being Too Sexual
But should it have been?
This Femfresh shaving advert has just been banned by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) for being overly sexualised and objectifying women.
The advert shows three scantily clad dancers in pants and high rise leotards doing a hip-thrusting, legs-spread-wide-open dance routine, and features mostly close-up shots of their crotches and mid-shots of their waists down. The ad was played on ITV Player and 4oD in March and April this year and 17 complainants came forward to say it portrayed women in an “overly sexualised way” and was “offensive and socially irresponsible”.
Church & Dwight UK (the company that owns Femfresh) argued that the ad wasn’t objectifying but that it was aimed at 18 to 34-year-olds who were interested in beauty and fitness which is why the clothing reflected modern fitness wear and the dance choreography reflected moves practised in dance warm-ups, yoga, pilates etc. ITV agreed with Church & Dwight UK that it wasn’t objectifying and said they didn’t receive any direct complaints about it themselves.
It’s a tricky one. Yes, adverts that film/ use pics of women’s body parts in a sexualised way without showing their faces are objectifying because they portray women as sexual bodies instead of actual people.
Take this banned advert for the “world’s slimmest smartphone”. There are close-up shots of legs, bum, boobs, there’s lip-biting… plus, how good this woman looks in her underwear has nothing to do with this smartphone.
And this Super Bowl ad by PETA of women in their underwear featuring close-up shots of bums, a woman licking a pumpkin, another stroking herself with a phallic vegetable, and so on.
Ohhhh ok, the message is “vegetarians have better sex”, I get it now. Wait... what’s this ad for again?
You can see why these adverts were criticised for portraying women as sexual objects, but when you’re trying to sell Femfresh shaving products which are legit made solely to smother on your private lady parts to help with “intimate shaving”, close-ups of bikini lines actually do make sense….
Plus, it seems like every advert for vagina-related products seem to go out of their way to AVOID talking about actual vaginas, making them more taboo than ever. Here’s a previous ad by Femfresh that could be about a toe cleaning product for all we know:
It’s easy to see why some people watching the Femfresh shaving ad would think the dancers have been sexualised and why ASA have now banned it. BUT equally others watching the ad wouldn’t see it as sexual but would view it as an advert for women (not for the enjoyment of men) about bikini lines which, rightly enough, shows bikini lines.
Now how about watching an episode of Sex Squad with Grace Victory...