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How to stop sexism in advertising


Every day we meet the same people, walk the same streets, see the same advertising. The most creative ads attract our attention. This morning creativeness got out of the limits.

A sexy woman dressed in very open, transparent and tight clothes was looking at pedestrians from the billboard. To the right from this image was a slogan: “Every third is for free”. You’ll never guess what was advertised. Ceramic tiles.

This is just one example of how we are imposed on a subconscious level, to the image of women without rights, who can be purchased as a product or used as household appliances. I can understand when a beautiful woman’s body is used to promote some lingerie or swimming suits. But ceramic tile?

From the other side, sexual advertising can be offensive for men as well. It’s a little bit humiliating that you are considered as an animal driven only by instincts, and more humiliating for the seller if this is the only way to attract attention to his product.

I must admit that such cases in Ukraine I meet less and less. Even Standards of advertising free from gender discrimination were developed and signed by main advertising unions. About one month ago I’ve read that some group of active people made monitoring of advertisements in my city Simferopol (it’s not a big city, about 300 000 people) and found two cases of sexist ad. They sent complaints to controlling bodies and one ad disappeared, and ladies on the other received decent t-shirts with the help of photoshop magic. Inspired by this initiative I’ve send my complaint to the Ukrainian Industrial Gender Committee on Advertising

Writing complaints makes changes. Every 4 from 5 advertisements from complaints are recognized as sexist. Another way to fight against offensive advertisement is to refuse to buy these products or services.

And how is the situation about sexism in advertising in your country?



Aminah's picture

women can change the trend

In the Maldives, we do not have much regulatory framework on advertising. However, our societal cultural belief systems eliminates over-use of the female bodily image for any purpose. Yet, that does not stop it from happening sometimes.

I always wonder why on earth anyone would want a woman to be featured on an advertisement of electrical or engineering gadgets when we hardly see any female working in those industries. The obvious answer is that the target audience for the ad is men!
But it eludes me why a woman chooses to be 'used' by the advertiser. But then again, I guess everyone has their own ways of earning an income...


Iryna's picture


You are right. Aminah, in such advertising we can see not only how stereotypes work but also how they are being created. Sometimes this ad is funny but mostly is humiliating. After these images who can accept a woman as a personality if "the third one is for free"? I think the role of adverstising in making tendencies is big, so the rules must be very strict for it.

Thank you for sharing an experience from Maldives,
Warmest greetings from Ukraine,

pelamutunzi's picture

i know

what you say is true but here girls usually do not want to feature in suchh adverts. am not sure if there is a law againt it but women activists here make a lot of noise. there are only two pole dancers in zimbabwe and there is a lot of noise from women. the message is we can do better than selling our bodies and wants the noise starts its in the news and papers and its removed off air. glad of our noise things would have been intolerable by now

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.

Iryna's picture

A lot of noise

That's a great example, pelamutunzi! If society says this kind of things are offensive then they disappear. Making a lot of noise always works!

Thank you for sharing this example,
Warmest wishes,



Dans notre pays la publication de sexisme n'a pas encor ateint le monapole; mais avec la billement des nos filles et femmes car, par cette habillement on ne sait plus distengué une femme mariée,fille et prostitué,car leur style nous prete confusion,vraiment chez elle ses chosifiés par leur comportement
bien de vous lire;

neema weza

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