KFC slammed for ‘sexist’ ad that ‘reinforces gender stereotypes’

Collective Shout, a grassroots organisation against the objectification of women, has condemned an ad from KFC for “reinforcing gender stereotypes and for its sexist grooming of boys”.

The ad, which has been running consistently during the Big Bash League coverage thanks to KFC’s sponsorship of the sport, depicts a woman leaning forward to check her reflection in a parked car window. As she is adjusting her cleavage, the window is rolled down, revealing a disapproving mother and two young boys staring open-mouthed at the woman.

Collective Shout spokeswoman, Melinda Liszewski, said that the ad reinforced the dangerous and archaic ‘boys will be boys’ trope.

“Ads like this reinforce the false idea that we can’t expect better from boys. It is another manifestation of the ‘boys will be boys’ trope, hampering our ability to challenge sexist ideas which contribute to harmful behaviour towards women and girls,” Liszewski said.

“The research is solid: attitudes shape behaviour. A growing number of reports show how re-enforcing of gender stereotypes – including in advertising – contributes to a lesser view of women, resulting in their mistreatment.”

Liszewski also argued that the ad counteracts the Australian Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022, which funnels money into school programs that teach children about respectful relationships.

“Governments are putting millions of dollars into ‘respectful relationships’ programs in schools. At the same time corporates like KFC – which claims to care about young people – undermine these goals.”

The ad is part of KFC’s ongoing ‘Bucket’ campaign, which shows people responding to situations with the phrase “Did somebody say KFC?”. In the ad in question, the woman is later seen enjoying KFC at what appears to be a music festival.

Recently, another ad in the series, which showed a group of women refused entry into a nightclub, caught fire from the industry watchdog Ad Standards, for misleading viewers of the availability of a $4.95 meal deal that ends at 4pm.

In their argument about the recent ad, Collective Shout also made reference to a social media ad that alluded to masturbation, for which KFC was forced to issue a public apology for.

Update 2:56pm, Friday 24 January – KFC has responded with the following comment from a spokesperson: “We are pleased Ad Standards has ruled that our ad does not breach advertising standards. The ad was part of a campaign that sees the fun in life’s awkward moments and it was not our intent to cause offence to anyone.”


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