You have to wonder how Gisele Bundchen‘s new series of TV ads for Hope Lingerie would be received if they aired in the U.S., rather than in Gisele’s native Brazil.
The trio of short clips is blatantly sexist, but it’s doubtful that government leaders would condemn them or the FCC would ban them. These are lingerie ads, after all, which means they’re supposed to distract you from life’s more serious problems.
If you haven’t seen the controversial spots yet, have a look below: they’re almost comically trite. In each ad, Gisele tries to break bad news to her husband (I wrecked the car, I maxed out the credit card, etc.) by delivering the news in her undies.
It’s all a bit silly coming from the world’s highest-paid supermodel, but the government of Brazil — which recently elected its first female president — isn’t amused, and demanded the ads be pulled from Brazilian TV.
“The campaign promotes the misguided stereotype of a woman as a sexual object of her husband and ignores the major advances we have achieved in deconstructing sexist practices and thinking,” the country’s women’s rights secretariat said in a statement last week. (Yes, Brazil has a women’s rights cabinet seat — how’s your country doing?!)
Some media critics have jumped on Gisele and Hope for portraying women as manipulative leeches — seriously, she can’t pay for her own credit card bills? — and one prominent UK daily even referred to Mrs. Brady as “a poster girl for misogony (sic)”.
The most interesting response, though, came from Hope Lingerie itself, which said the ad campaign depicts “jokes about daily life.”
“It would be absurd for us, who make a living off the preferences of women, to do anything to devalue our main consumer,” the company said.
Ah, there’s the nub of the issue. … Do lingerie companies, through their marketing, demean their own customers by perpetuating sexist stereotypes in ads like this? Or is that just taking things waayy too seriously?
That’s your assignment for today — debate and discuss. But first, check out the evidence below.