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Thursday, November 13, 1997 Published at 15:55 GMT


Men cringe as adverts show 'Girl Power'

Lee putting their boot in

Advertising watchdogs are used to crack down on sexist advertisements, but the latest series of complaints is unusual: So-called 'Girl Power' adverts showing dominant women threatening men have prompted dozens of objections.

According to Britain's Advertising Standards Authority, ASA, dozens of members of the public were upset by a string of adverts in which men were on the receiving end of female violence.

77 people objected to an advert for Lee jeans showing a woman wearing stiletto heeled boots resting her toe on the naked buttocks of a prostrate man with the words: "Put the boot in".

A further 14 complaints were received by the ASA about a poster advertising the Nissan Micra which implied that a female owner of the car had kicked her male companion in the crotch for borrowing it without her permission.

[ image: Howard Roberts defends the new style of ads]
Howard Roberts defends the new style of ads
Howard Roberts, of Nissan's Advertising Agency, said: "It is not about saying women should be violent towards men.

"It's about saying women are feeling much stronger than ever before and if they want to react in the way they choose then they are free to do that."

Another recent advert, for Wallis clothes, showed men being so distracted by provocatively dressed women that they were in danger of causing fatal accidents.

Complainants said the adverts were sexist, offensive, condoned violence and would not have been acceptable if the subjects had been women.

In its defence, Lee claimed they were reflecting the "prevailing Girl Power mood in Britain", showing a woman in control.

In its latest monthly report, the ASA dismissed the complaints, acknowledging the adverts were unlikely to cause widespread offence.

But it warned advertisers it was too early to say whether the Girl Power philosophy ushered in by the band 'Spice Girls' really signalled a new way how women were perceived in Britain - or was simply a passing fad.

[ image: Caroline Crawford, of the ASA, warns advertisers about Girl Power camapigns]
Caroline Crawford, of the ASA, warns advertisers about Girl Power camapigns
For the moment, the watchdog said, people trying to exploit the phenomenon ran the risk of "offending public sensibilities".

ASA spokeswoman Caroline Crawford said: "We have decided to issue a caution to advertisers because the public has indicated it does not like to see violent and aggressive imagery in advertising.

"The industry should take that on board."


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