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Specsaversoffensive advert

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The latest advert, aired on TV beginning the 14th March, is offensive to women as about 100 women are shown running towards a man on a beach wearing only bikinis where the camera focusses on their bums a lot, sexualising them. This advert therefore objectifies women. The advert is sexist as it is only women who are shown are being sexualised. I was shocked and upset when I saw this advert as I already hate the Lynx advert that this has been 'inspired' by. I was happy when that advert stopped being aired (not that the others are any better) and now there is this advert by specsavers. I long for the day when someone finally stops sexist, offensive adverts from being aired because although most men may not have a problem with them, many women do and our opinions matter too. Also just because they are done in a comical way, doesn't make them any less sexist and distressing. In this case by making it slightly comical, that is how Specsavers have gotten away with airing this offensive advert.

Responses

  • Jk
    JKSurrey Mar 22, 2010
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    Verified customer

    This is typical of the near ludicrous obsession that fundamentalist feminists have with any image that portrays women as sexually attractive. I would be really interested to know just what images of women are acceptable to this extremist minority. Just because a woman is portrayed using sexually provocative imagery does not mean that people are stupid enough to believe that this is the only facet of a woman's persona that has any value. Nor does it mean that the women participating in this ad were forced to so nor does it mean that they are victims of "false consciousness". They probably really enjoy what they do. Do you find men complaining about imagery that constantly portrays men as dynamic, strong and powerful? I am afraid we are heading for a new feminist inspired Puritanism aimed specifically at heterosexuals and a climate where 1984 style sex crime (i.e. merely looking at attractive women) sadly becomes the norm.

    0 Votes
  • Li
    liza03 Mar 25, 2010

    I disagree. I am a 27 year old woman. I do not consider myself a 'fundamentalist feminist'. The fact that you even allude to 'fundamentalist feminism' in realtion to above comment, does nothing more than highlight your obvious misunderstanding of feminism or why is advert can be considered offensive.

    This advert is sexist. All of the women in the advert, whether scantily clad or not, exist purely for potential male gratification. That is the suggestion and narrative for the advert. For the one male in the advert, and for the target audience of men watching it at home.

    What you are also forgetting is that this advert however is also sexist and offensive to men. Its overall message, 'ugly blokes cannot get good looking women'. The fact that most are probably too busy watching mammeries and gluteal muscles bouncing up and down however perhaps detracts most from this point.

    The advert is a cheap and tacky ploy at creating controversy for being purposefully sexist. It is designed to offend and stimulate so that people like you and I will remember it but most importantly who it was for...Specsavers.

    Don't bother giving them the satisfaction.

    -2 Votes
  • Li
    liza03 Mar 25, 2010

    I thought everyone reading this might benefit from JKSurrey's gems of wisdom...I don't want to be selfish and keep them all for myself...

    Here is a message I have just received from him regarding the above;


    Thanks for your comment Liza. Fundamentalist feminism does exist. There is a group of women, some of whom have reached very elevated positions in the current Labour government, who are opposed to what they regard as the "commoditisation" and "objectification" of women. What they forget, with their misplaced zeal, is that stereotypical images of men are equally abundant and create equal pressures for men. It’s just that men don't organise themselves and complain about it! I would suggest that your offensive remarks about men (i.e. "The fact that most are probably too busy watching mammeries and gluteal muscles bouncing up and down however perhaps detracts most from this point") reveal that your understanding of men is somewhat more limited than my understanding of feminism.
    The fact that certain images portray women as sex objects for the gratification of men does not mean that men are all so stupid that they automatically regard all women as sex objects. The problem with your point of view is that you wish to impose your distorted view of sexual imagery and sexual interaction on the vast majority of people who are not upset by such images. The even more sinister issue is that you are arrogant enough to believe that you have the right to dictate what images and publications other people should be allowed to consensually produce, consensually look at and consensually consume. Is the front cover of Zoo offensive? Is the front cover of GQ offensive? Is the front cover of Cosmopolitan offensive? Is the classic image of Marilyn Monroe standing over and air duct so that her skirt blows up offensive?? Please tell me where you and your colleagues would draw the line? I would really like to know what a “right on” PC hetero male is allowed to look at in modern day Britain, because, after all it would appear that it is you who have the right to decide what is offensive and what isn’t.
    Your views represent a position that is barely one step away from censorship of the worst kind. Incidentally I have asked 15 women whether they thought the ad should be banned on the grounds of sexism. Three found the ad mildly annoying, but not one wanted the ad to be banned. Two of my daughter’s friends (she is 21 by the way) actually wondered where they could get to appear in such an ad!
    The really wonderful news is that you will never win. You can ban all you like but in every society that has ever existed sexual display has been the norm. Forty years of feminism will not stop thousands and thousands of years of male and female sexual development.
    Finally take a look at this ad on you tube for Vaillant Boilers. In particular listen to the script between 15 and 25 seconds - ask yourself whether or not this offensive to men and whether the word Mum could have been substituted for Dad. I doubt that it could have been in today's PC climate.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRoXscBNi-o
    Anyway I must dash as I am off to the lap dancing club via the newsagent where I will be buying a copy of Hot Chicks. Hopefully I will be back just in time for the all night sex extravaganza on the adult channel!!! I shall of course be watching all of these delights through my glasses purchased from Specsavers! (Only joking!).
    Happy censoring!!!

    -3 Votes
  • Sa
    sarah233 Mar 27, 2010

    Hi again,

    I just thought I would post this comment to thank Liza03 for sharing that message with everyone! I have often also found that when I simply express that I am offended by something I perceive to be offensive to women, there is always someone who responds with a lot of hostility and anger.

    I think it is a shame that we can't all discuss matters such as this without trying to offend one another.

    -3 Votes
  • Sa
    sarah233 Mar 27, 2010

    Sorry I forgot to mention, if it is of any interest...I am also 21 and in my case I most certainly would not want to find out how to appear in such an advert.

    -1 Votes
  • Sa
    sarah233 Mar 27, 2010

    Just another point I feel I should make, in the comment I made thanking Liza03, I was not implying that Liza03 was being offensive. Sorry for not being clear enough. It is good to know that I am not alone believing that adverts should not be sexist.

    -1 Votes
  • Sa
    sarah233 Mar 27, 2010

    As I am going to try to close my account, I thought I would post the messages I have sent on here to help back up my arguement. Just to point out though, in the first message, when I said: 'Although my complaint may sound like it is typical of fundamentalist feminist beliefs', I meant this to mean, whether it sounds like it or not, because I am not familiar with fundamentalist feminist beliefs. All I know is that I believe in equality for women. Anyway, here they are:

    1.

    Hi JKSurrey,

    Thank you for your message. Although my complaint may sound like it is typical of fundamentalist feminist beliefs, i would not say that i have a problem with every image that portrays women as sexually attractive. I simply have a problem with sexualised images of women being used to sell something, as they are using a women's body to draw in the male customers.

    I also appreciate that not everyone will believe that that is the only side to women, but considering that a majority of advertising these days involves sexualising them, people will be exposed to it an awful lot, and may be heavily influenced by this (depends on the person of course). As children are watching tv more these days than they used to, then they will be exposed to it more. It has been proven that teenagers gain a lot of their knowledge through the media these days, so what are they learning when they see sexualised images of women constantly? Seeing these kinds of adverts only drills in the message that this is a large and the main facet of women (if there are less adverts showing women in a non-sexualised way) and may neglect other important facets of women, like their personality.

    I also realise that the women would have been happy to participate in the adverts but it is not those women i am concerned for. It is the everyday woman who is going to suffer the effects of these adverts when the men (who are influenced by the adverts) treat them with less respect and who after years of being constantly bombarded by sexualised images of women may begin to believe that that is the most/ only important thing about a woman.

    I could go on and list many other bits of evidence to support my view and i will if you wish, but I doubt very much I will be able to change your mind. I tend to find that people either agree strongly with this belief or disagree strongly.

    Just to comment on the point you made about men not complaining about the imagery that is presented of them. I agree that I have found men don't seem to have a problem with it, however the way they are presented is done a much more lighthearted way and does not occur nearly as often as it does for women. Also, men are less likely to suffer any negative effects of this, due to the lighthearted manner that they are presented in. I appreciate that the specsavers advert is done in a lighthearted way, I think i simply don't like it because it is copying the lynx advert, which is not done in such a way.

    I don't have a problem with many things that present women as attractive human beings. I believe it empowers us and gives us confidence. Afterall, we have a right to do what we like. I just don't like it when women's bodies are used to attract male customers, where in the case of this advert they are shown without identity as they all running together because clearly the man does not care about attracting just one nice woman but lots, uncaring of anything like personality but rather that they have a female body that is on show. This does not empower women at all.

    I hope i have explained myself better to you. Please do not respond if your message is intended to insult or upset me.

    regards,
    Sarah.

    2.Hi again,

    I have only just noticed your message here, so that is why I am responding after adding comments to the complaint page. I do not have a very low opinion of men (edit- If it is it of relevence I have a boyfriend who is very supportive and is also against sexist advertising), but I cannot say I have been as lucky as you to know many men who don't disrespect women. All of those men I know who are like that regularly look at lads mags etc, and have been very offensive in the way they have spoken to me.

    I am not denying that some adverts are offensive to men, but as I said before they are not nearly as many. It is still bad though.

    All I can say about the comment you made about TV advertising and the London underground advertising being attacked is that I am glad. I do not see why advertising should be allowed just because some people like it and don't get offended by it. Surely it is more important to get rid of it if it offends some people. Why should women like myself suffer feeling unequal and objectified as a gender just because men like to see these thing?

    I do not have a problem with nuts and zoo, etc. I just hate being forced to see it when it on display for all to see in newsagents! Men can buy what they like just don't make people see it who don't want to.

    I also think, good for your female friend who works in a lap dancing club. If she enjoys it then good. If women want to do that then thats fine. But they must surely be aware that the men that go there can't be the most respectful people when it comes to women. If they go to places like that, where they pay to watch a woman objectify/sell herself, then what is that going to do to their overall perception of women? I just think its sad. But then its up to them what they do. As long as thatstuff stays well out of my life and I don't have to see it going on then its ok. Which is why I have a problem with adverts and mags etc, because you can't help but see them.

    I think it is good that there are low levels of sexual assault in Holland, but don't you think its bad that it seems that what we need to do to lower rates of rape etc, is to allow/encourage more women to get into the sex industry? Is that really the way forward for women? Is that all we are good for?

    My goodness, I completely wish for a free society. To be perfectly honest though I don't think that can ever be a reality. To allow freedom for these adverts and magazines to be shown for all to see, is taking away the freedom to feel equal and respected by myself and so many other women. Especially regarding nuts and zoo, etc, to be forced to see this soft porn when you don't even want to (especially when you are ok with it as long as you don't have to see it) really wears you down. There have been some good studies done into this, and it has been found that women's self esteem can be lowered by this considerably, and women even begin to loose respect for themself. Therefore they end up objectifiying themselves. It doesnt help that the whole thing is glamourised, as this encourges lots of naive vulnerable young girls into the buisness.

    Anyway, I saw the message you sent to Liza03, and i thought it was rather nasty, hence my comment thanking her for her comment and how some people can be quite hostile in their responses. I feel I maybe made a mistake in posting a complaint on here as I find it very distressing when people starting offending one another, and it was never my attention to offend anyone.

    Therefore if possible I am going to delete my account off here, and try to be content with the knowledge that I am complained to ASA, who will hopefully do something about the advert.

    Regards,

    Sarah.

    -1 Votes
  • Ra
    Rachel345 Mar 28, 2010

    I agree that the advert is very sexist and it is also on during the day when children can see it which is very wrong. I definitely won't want to purchase anything from specsavers from now on.

    -2 Votes
  • Ju
    Jubba Mar 30, 2010

    I love the advert - it's funny and the girls are hot. What's not to like? The fact is, men enjoy looking at semi-naked women - always have done and always will do. It's one of the wonderful mechanisms that keeps the human race propagating.

    2 Votes
  • Ju
    Jubba Mar 30, 2010

    And seriously, just HOW distressed can you get over an advert showing a few bikini-clad women and a topless bloke on a beach? Surely there's much more important things to get distressed about, like the war in Afghanistan, the homeless kids on our streets, the cutting down of the rainforests etc? While you're at revolutionising the global ad industry, maybe you can stop the ads with women advertising cleaning products, baby food, slimming cereals etc. Is it not sexist to show a woman prancing around in a nice new, snug red swim suit after losing all that weight thanks to a breakfast? Why not a chubby bloke? The specsaver ad is no more sexist that the majority of advertising we see day in, day out.

    2 Votes
  • Jk
    JKSurrey Mar 30, 2010
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Great comments Jubba. I agree 100% with you. In fact I have not come across anyone yet who thinks the ad should be banned.

    1 Votes
  • Ji
    Jimbobber Apr 06, 2010

    What an interesting, if slightly pointless, debate.

    I wonder how the women that are offended by this advert would feel if it were 100 men in tighties (torso/chest uncovered I might add as is the norm for males in that type of advert) running towards a female that is then portrayed to look geeky and conventionally unnattractive.

    I suppose I can answer that myself in that the advertisers (in this case specsavers) would have been wrong to objectify a woman into looking bad simply because she wears bad specs. The 100+ near naked men would, of course, be acceptable.

    I would love, at this point, to say that I am a mid-twenties woman... but alas, unsurprisingly I am not.

    So I say this to all advertisers taking time out of your busy and creative schedules to read this:
    Stop using tried and tested winning formulae to sell your products. You don't deserve the money we will give you for creating adverts that provoke conversation and keep people saying your names. You offend the minority and therefore must cease and desist. How dare you attempt to manipulate us into buying products that we need.
    Forget your catchy slogans. Everytime I want car insurance I find myself at Go Compare. or the other one. Simples.
    When I look at buying a new car, I instantly sing We buy any car (dot com).
    And when it comes to insulating windows in my property... well... you buy 1, you get 1 free! I said you buy 1...

    Now... for being made to feel unequal, objectified... inadequate you might say... Anyone for a Diet Coke?
    And yet, I am not offended by that nor any advert. I have this (seemingly rare given some people's 'rantings' that I have read) ability to take things at face value and then look a little further if required.
    They are in the business for a reason. They know what they are doing. If I could afford it, I would use them to sell my products. I couldn't give 2 monkey's backsides if they offend over-sensitive potential customers.

    Walkers got it spot on with their 'naked' advert. Gary Gary Linekarrrrrr making himself look buff to fit in. It is a social commentary alongside a well thought out advert. Tongue in cheek. Just like the specsavers advert.

    And now for my more serious comments!
    Sarah, Love (!), you have made so many opposing arguments that maybe you need to decide on what you actually believe before ranting and trying to bring a good company down. A few comments I want to explore are:
    'I dont mind lads mags... don't force them on me' - DONT LOOK!!!
    'I think it is good... Holland... Is that all we are good for?' - WAY TO TAKE THE ARGUMENT WELL OUT OF CONTEXT!
    'I would love to live in a free society' - AND YET PREVIOUSLY MADE AN OPINIONATED COMMENT ON LAPDANCING BEING A SAD LIFESTYLE CHOICE! (the buggers earn more than I do and for doing far less!)
    'Women's self esteem lowered' - BECAUSE NON-LAD MAGS DONT DO THE SAME? THE MESSAGE IS THE SAME TAKEN FROM A DIFFERENT SIDE (to clarify; lad mags = showing the fine female form of skinny girls... non-lad mags = telling the stories of the fine female form that has struggled to, but successfully, LOST weight. I'm pretty confident that your girly mags came before our lad mags).

    Now, I have marked this response as Neutral as I can see an opposite side to what I am saying and may even agree with it to some degree. Just not in the way that you chose to do it.

    1 Votes
  • Rj
    rjdjones Apr 20, 2010

    I'm offended by this complaint ... and the overworn arguments that go along with it. I'm also more than a little tired of hearing how it only takes a few complaints like hers to have adverts like this removed when it is clear to see that an overwhelming majority of viewers either like the advert, or if they don't they care so little about the topic that they do not bother to register their feelings by making a complaint. Either way, the feelings of a petulant minority are being given far too much consideration if it means that the massive majority are affected by them

    While the OP has made such a big deal about an advert "objectifying women" it's unsurprising that she fails to make any complaint about the adverts that directly insult men (it's so easy a man could do it etc.).

    Keep your gender war to yourself and grow up. There's no such thing as gender equality so stop pining for it. Men and women are different. Just as men are different from men, and women are different from women. Claiming parity is as ridiculous as it is futile.

    I find it strange that almost every advert these days seems to be for female sanitary products, weight loss, or 'clothing for the larger woman' ... but I'm not going to complain about them. I assume there are millions of women out there who can't wait to see the next outfit available available in size 16-20, happy in the knowledge that if the excitement gets too much for them then Tena lady will be there to cover up any embarrassment. But just because I don't appreciate something I see no reason to attempt and remove it from others.

    If you want to make a complaint then boycott Specsavers and refuse to buy their product, but stop trying to ruin other's entertainment. I like the advert and hope it stays around for a long time.

    2 Votes
  • Jk
    JKSurrey Apr 20, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    The silence from Sarah, Lisa and Rachel is overwhelming!!!
    We are all heartily sick of a politically correct minority imposing their views on others. People should be free to choose what they watch. I agree with the comments above that make the point very clearly that if you don't want to look at something NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO DO SO - SO DON'T LOOK!
    Looks like the libertarians are winning this one as the censors seem to have given up!

    2 Votes
  • Jk
    JKSurrey May 11, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Hey check this out - well done Specsavers for sticking with a winning formula!!!


    http://uk.stylelist.com/2010/05/11/kelly-brooks-got-specs-appeal/?icid=main|uk|dl7|link6|http%3A%2F%2Fuk.stylelist.com%2F2010%2F05%2F11%2Fkelly-brooks-got-specs-appeal%2F

    0 Votes
  • An
    AnneP Nov 06, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    The only women that would find this offensive are ones who can't find a bikini to fit them.

    2 Votes
  • Pi
    pinkcat Nov 09, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Just a quick point. If I walk into the newsagents to get a paper/magazine, the magazines showing near naked women on the cover are at eye level rather than being top shelf. It's not possible not to see them so actually we are being forced to look at them! Censorship would be to say do not sell/produce them at all. I think the point of previous posters is that if they were put high up on the shelf we wouldn't be forced to look at them and children wouldn't grow up with the idea that to be successful as a woman you should conform to the idea of what is attractive, and strip and sell your image for men around the country to look at.
    As for the advert - should this really be shown during the day? Also all the models are of a similar size so it enforces the message that women should be a certain size and figure.

    0 Votes
  • Am
    Amal4 Oct 26, 2011

    Took my young son to Chingford branch for an eye test. I couldn't believe the way the optician was handling him - she was talking very rough to him when he failed to position his eyes/head (As young children naturally do) in the direction asked. I sat there gritting my teeth as she got very stern with him with using a strong voice tone, as well as moving his head firmly whilst telling him "You're not doing what I told you!" and "Don't touch that, put it back right now!". I kicked myself for not challenging her unproffessional approach, particularly to a young child. But I reassured myself that it won't be much longer and I wouldn't be able to get his test done anywhere else given the time that I had. I left feeling that people should not work in these careers if they have no training in how to interact with the young. It's crucial that patience, sence of humour will comfort customers as well as provide a smile on her face, which never emerged from the moment I entered the branch. Money is important, but looking happy is priceless and sole fulfilling. Have transferred to another provider by the way. Soon after leaving, I was talking about the experience to someone and to my surprise, a passer by said "Sorry to butt in-your not the only person to have had that experience as I know a lot of people who have gone elsewhere because of the treatment their children have had with the rough handling on their children". Disgraceful Chingford branch!

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    ChrisDonelan Jul 27, 2019

    Spec saver ads are generally sexist biased against males. I wish their ad showed an older male telling his daughter that he was going to leave his estate to a sexy young female gardener. This would cause an outcry by the feminists.

    0 Votes

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