ASB: You can’t shear a scantily clad woman like she’s a sheep

An ad featuring a woman in pink underwear being held down and sheared like a sheep has been ruled to be exploitative of women and degrading by adland’s watchdog.

The ad – on a flyer for livestock service Shear Ewe – features Norwegian downhill skiier Kari Traad.

kari traad sheer ewe

One complaint to the Advertising Standards Body stated: “The leaflet depicts three male shearers shearing – the central shearer is shearing a woman removing her scanty pink jumpsuit while restraining her. The objectification of women the sexual positioning of the woman the representation of a woman as an animal and the restraint used were offensive. I actually thought this was someone’s idea of a sick joke.”

But Sheer Ewe argued that the image was “a work of art” shot in 2008 to mark her clothing brand’s sponsorship of the Golden Shears Competition.

The company added: “I am not really clear about how she is being depicted as an animal while seated comfortably and clearly not odjecting to treatment, guess it depends on your point of view. Again depending on your point of view, who is being taken advantage of? You could argue that Miss Traa is taking advantage of the shearer, though I see it as a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“The shearers in the picture are the best in the world.

“I believe that Kari Traa exudes confidence, strength of character. Is a master of her own domain, individual, decisive and both sexualy and mentally liberated. I don‟t feel that she would let herself be objectified and vilified. I would not be using this piece of art in our advertisment if I thought otherwise. I obtained full permission from the Kari Traa Organisation to use the picture.”

The ASB ruled: “The Board noted that the woman is dressed but that she is posed in a mildly sexualised manner with the suggestion that she will soon be naked (from the shearing). The Board considered that the image makes use of the woman’s sexual appeal and attractiveness.

“The Board considered that the image depicts the man in a position of power and the woman in a submissive position. The Board also considered that the image depicts the woman in a position in which she is compared to an animal, with a suggestion also of commodification (ie: that there is, as there is in shearing, many others to be shorn).

“The Board considered that the representation of the woman as a sheep being shorn was irrelevant to the service advertised. The Board considered that the impact of the advertisement as a whole is exploitative of women and is also degrading.”


  1. Craig
    17 Jul 12
    5:38 pm

  2. Baaaa, humbug.

  3. Mike
    17 Jul 12
    7:16 pm

  4. “The Board considered that the representation of the woman as a sheep being shorn was irrelevant to the service advertised. The Board considered …”
    Who gives a damn what “the board” thinks or says??

    We, the people, have never authorised this rabble of wannabe totalitarians to operate as government censor, nor as arbiters of our cultural consumption.
    Let the advertiser advertise. If he gets it wrong, his campaign will fail.

    Our free speech is under serious threat at the moment, as media operators will attest.
    It’s time for all of us to end our apathy and rise up in defiacne of these dangerous petty bureaucrats, whose power is defined by our apathy and spineless compliance.

  5. Here's an idea...
    18 Jul 12
    1:33 pm

  6. Run it in New Zealand!

  7. AdGrunt
    18 Jul 12
    4:56 pm

  8. [Shakes head in disbelief]

  9. Groucho
    18 Jul 12
    5:11 pm

  10. I just want to know which century the “Board” think they are in, and if they should really be allowed out on their own.

  11. Anonymous
    18 Jul 12
    10:00 pm

  12. sexual position? clearly she’s in a shearing position…. excactly the way a shearer would shear a sheep, so if thats sexual should we ban shearing as its sexualising the sheep?

  13. Joann Mariu
    18 Jul 12
    10:33 pm

  14. Yeah…whose the shearer shearing her?

  15. Anne Bergan
    19 Jul 12
    7:14 pm

  16. “Being held down ” ?? Olympic gold medalist Kari Traa is modelling her own wool underwear, looking quite comfortable. Looks to me like she is being held UP.
    How is this possibly more suggestive than Kylie Minouge advertising her own slightly more sexy underwear ?​2012/07/kyliefashion/
    In the picture she could possibly be protecting herself from being attacked – suggesting that someone might want to rape her.
    What does mUmBRELLA have to say about this, I wonder ?

  17. Wayne
    19 Jul 12
    10:08 pm

  18. Maybe the Aussies don’t like the fact that Kari is being “sheared” by a Kiwi living in Norway :):):) Go Neil and Kari.

    Couldn’t agree with you more Anne.

  19. Richard Moss
    30 Jul 12
    2:41 pm

  20. I think its about time that we all took a nice deep breath and relaxed our shoulders, before sitting down to a nice cup of tea and talking this through.

    We are grown up people, we all know that the majority of shearers are well built young men who are paid to take the wool from sheep as quickly and as painlessly as possible, and that there are rules about the humane treatment of sheep.

    We are grown up people, we all know that art can choose to imitate reality, or not, and that it sometimes makes a little world of its own, in which to represent a story or an idea or a thought provoking situation.

    We are grown up people, and we all know that anyone can read anything they like into anything they choose to manipulate, and if that includes forcing a left hand foot into a right hand shoe, or beggaring disbelief to support a piece of imposed political claptrap then it can be done with ease.

    In my opinion, all the comments made about the shearing scene depicted on the flyer, are distorted, forced, twisted and utterly unrealistic in the extreme.