An Australian television commercial for a popular fast food chain has been taking heat over a premise that has been accused of being blatantly sexist and enforcing “archaic stereotypes.”
In the 15-second spot for KFC, a young woman — apparently on her way to some type of festival — checks herself in the reflection of a car window, adjusting her low-cut dress to showcase her cleavage.
Suddenly the car’s tinted windows roll down, with two wide-eyed pre-teen boys staring in wonderment while a grown woman — presumably their mother — looks on disapprovingly.
As the Guardian reports, the ad was blasted by Collective Shout, an Australian advocacy group that campaigns against the objectification of women.
According to the group, KFC’s commercial is “a regression to tired and archaic stereotypes where young women are sexually objectified for male pleasure.”
Collective Shout spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski told the Guardian that these types of advertising campaigns “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.
“The research is solid: attitudes shape behaviour. A growing number of reports show how reinforcing of gender stereotypes — including in advertising — contributes to a lesser view of women, resulting in their mistreatment.”
Following the backlash, KFC issued a brief statement of apology. “We apologize if anyone was offended by our latest commercial,” the statement reads. “Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light.”
KFC did not clarify whether the ad would continue to be used.