Sex sells. This marketing approach has become so commonplace that it is not only used to sell cars, beer, and football, but also to sell seemingly innocuous items like yogurt, laundry detergent, toothpaste, potato chips and lawn mowers. It is even used to target female consumers, for products such as facial cleanser, diet soda, perfume, tampons, and salads at McDonald’s. The marketplace has become so immersed in sexed-up images of women that, apparently, many people do not even realize anymore how hurtful these ads can be to the female gender.
To remind people that using women as sex objects in order to sell products is hurtful and distorted, WIZO has launched a campaign for the second year in a row to highlight “Israel’s Most Sexist Commercials of the Year.” No, not “sexiest” but most “sexist.” Their criteria for “sexist” is frighteningly simple. Sexist ads are ones that chop up women’s bodies into parts or depict women’s bodies without the faces, that depict women’s bodies as edible replacements for food or meat, that offer women’s bodies as objects for sale or consumption, that reinforce stereotypes and stigmas about women, that infantilize women or portray women as stupid, that promote women as sexual servants, that encourage violence or sexual violence against women, and that legitimize rape.
This year, the top five Most Sexist Advertisements are Fairy dish liquid, AXE deodorant, Goldstar Beer, the morning-after contraceptive pill by Postinor and DO IT Kitchen’s print campaign. Last year the winner was an ad for Tami Bar water filters, which depicted a scantily clad Bar Rafaeli lying on the kitchen counter intended to be “drunk” by men.
WIZO, which will hold a mock award ceremony this week at the Tel Aviv Opera House in honor of International Women’s Day, encourages Israeli consumers to boycott these products.
“The goal of the campaign is twofold,” Sheana Shechterman, the director of the campaign against sexist advertisements and a political lobbyist for WIZO, told reporters this week. “Firstly, it is an issue of how these ads educate and influence society – they send out negative images that can be dangerous for women. And we also want to encourage people to be aware of such negativity and not buy a certain product if the commercial that promotes it is hurtful to you. There are so many choices in the supermarket; choose something else.”
Watch some of the ads that WIZO deemed ‘Most Sexist’: