Ads Starring Gisele Bündchen Cause Complaints Of Sexism

By Brent Randall 2011-09-30 20:56:17
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Do Brazilian women have particularly more charm than the rest of the women of the world? According to lingerie company Hope, in a series of advertisements starring Gisele Bündchen, they might. At least, it seems, when they take most of their clothes off. That last little detail isn’t sitting well with the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.

In the advertisements, referred to as “lessons”, Gisele gives her husband bad news about things like wrecking his car, maxing out their credit cards, or inviting her mother over to stay. But she gives the news in regular clothes, and this, the advertising lesson tells us, is wrong. The Brazilian model then gives the same news while wearing Hope lingerie, apparently showing women the right way. The tagline of the advertisements is “You’re a Brazilian woman – use your charm.”

According to Forbes, President Rousseff has demanded that the advertisements be taken off the air. The Brazilian government has apparently also received six complaints from angry viewers since the advertisements began airing in the country on September 20. Hope’s director, Sandra Chayo, stated that the aim of the ads was to show “with good humour, that the natural sensuality of Brazilian women, which is known worldwide, can be an effective weapon when giving bad news.” She also added that Gisele was chosen for the ad because she is a fashion icon and powerful businesswoman – not completely for her sex appeal.

While Hope and Bündchen are both playing the ads off as good fun, when I watch them I see a pretty clear message: bad news wouldn’t be so bad if you just took your clothes off. Referring to the ads as “lessons” only makes it worse. It sounds like the kind of logic the sexist boss uses in videos about sexual harassment in the workplace. Just listen to pretty much anything said by a male character in Anchorman. My point being that Anchorman is a comedy, and the (intended) humor is in showing how archaic such sexist thinking seems to us today. As Danny Trejo’s bartender character said in the same movie, “ladies can do stuff now.” These ads from Hope seem to go against those words of wisdom, conveying the message that women should use their bodies to make things better for men.

Click here to check out the ads.
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