Friday, 7 August 2009

Sex sells hearing aids?

Bothered by Widex's ridiculous billboards? You're not the only one, and, thanks to reader Leonie for the info, you can complain directly to Widex by emailing Lynn Miller

Here's Leonie's list of concerns about this billboard campaign:
1. It is a pornographic image; the young woman is in a pose frequently used
in pornography, i.e. naked underneath a coat, wearing stockings - stockings
are frequently used in pornography

2. The photo of her conveys the message that women are sex objects - a
harmful message to women and girls.

3. Because it is a billboard - this harmful message will be seen by people
of all ages, including young children.

4. The slogan "To hear no evil would be a bit of a shame" so that a
pornographic photo of a half-naked young woman is alongside the word evil.

5. Widex is using sex to sell a product that has nothing to do with sex.
This is a breach of the People in Advertising Code which says they will not
use "sexual appeal simply to draw attention to an unrelated product".

6. Widex claims to practice corporate social responsibility yet this Widex
advert reinforces the idea that women are objects for men's pleasure. This
is one of the ideas that underpins the high incidence of sexual assault in
New Zealand, where one in 4 women in NZ will be sexual assaulted in her
Some people are taking their message straight to the billboards themselves:

Leonie sent in this one, and I've seen another one with the words "Child porn your shame" added too. Feel free to email me, julie dot fairey via gmail, if you have any others to add.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe this bill board when I saw it the other night. But what is worse, I had forgotten about it completely, just shows how much sex is used in advertising—sadly I must be coming desensitised to the appalling portrayal of women in the media.

Anonymous said...

I have seen these around (& the one with the guy on it) & struggled to see what the product they were advertising was. When I finally figured out it was hearing aids, I though 'eh?'

A Nonny Moose said...

Maybe because I was driving, maybe because I'm desensitized...but I completely missed that the girl was nude under the jacket on first view. I got the product, and thought they were just aiming for a younger market.

Unfortunately, the company has got the coverage they were looking for. Ah well, nothing ever changes by being silent.

lex said...

I've complained to the ASA, and you can too, online :

Have lovely weekends :)

Anonymous said...

Comparing that billboard to child porn is highly sexist. The model is obviously not a child and the only reason i can think of that people might get that impression is that she doesn't have large breasts, and implying that maturity revolves around such things is wrong on so many levels.

Me said...

Well the fact that she doesn't have pubes or hips might also come into it Anon.

beth said...

Well i think its stupid and sexist, but she's not presented in an infantile way, so i don't see the link to child pornography.
Also, urgh. I saw the one with the "men never listen" on it, and was completely offended by that, but haven't seen this one. The men never listen idea is also horribly sexist.
Also, is there any good reason that the people in these adds are so young? is there a big issue with young people who need them not gettting hearing aids? or is it just that they can't sell sex/hearing aids with old people?

Brett Dale said...

If the model is over 18, the company should sue for slander.

Paul said...

I have examined this photograph carefully and I can confirm that it shows a woman, not a girl. Her hips may not be wide and her pubes are not visible, but these features do not make her under-age.

Anyone who thinks this is pornography should spend more time on Internet. It is a sexually alluring image of an adult woman. It is not explicit. It does not objectify or demean women. Its theme does not underpin sexual assault.

The prudishness of Leonie and the graffiti writer does nothing but harm to feminism.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's just me, but I associate the expression, pose and particularly the chair with a very specific type of pornography - FemDom (where a a woman dominates male, or sometimes female sexual 'slaves' and is 'worshipped' by them). A view that conflicts with Leonie's points 2 & 6.

@Paul, if "it is a sexually alluring image" then it is pornography.

That said, I don't really have an issue with the image. Women (and men) can be sexual, and there is no reason why that shouldn't be represented in our cultural imagery (as long is it cannot be misinterpreted, as violence for example). However I do agree with point number 5 and consider that a very important point.

Tidge said...

LOL Paul. Thanks for your advice on how to do feminism, /sarcasm/.

Haven't seen these billboards, but here in Christchurch we get the Braxton's car lights ones which are of a similar nature, counting on the tenueous link between breasts and car lights. They are repeat offenders. See the following for complains; one was upheld, the other was not.

Tidge said...

(sp) tenuous, even

Victor said...

The size of a woman's breasts or hips has nothing to do with her identity as a woman - humans come in a variety of shapes and sizes. And quite frankly, it's no-one's business but the model's what she wishes to do with her hair.

I also should point out whether something is pornographic or erotic depends entirely on cultural norms of the day. When the Sistine Chapel was painted, the nude figures were considered indecent - now they are considered art. Nudity does not necessarily equate to sexuality.

This image may be a little more risque than every-day advertising - but not by much. Almost any given ad break will feature either an overt or implied message that if you buy a certain product, you will be more attractive to the opposite sex. As such, it's really par for the course - and hardly exclusive to objectifying women. As Anonymous #2 pointed out, there is a similar advertisement which features a male model - whose nipples you can actually see!

The point that has to be made here is that we live in an industrial-capitalist society which will exploit both women and men for a quick buck. Complaining about tasteless billboards is a sort of a labour of Sisyphus if one truly wishes for equality.

Anonymous said...

The CHAIR is sexual as well Anon? Remind me to not let you near any of my furniture :/

Anonymous said...

please, the bottom line is that the billboards clearly contravene several lines in the ASA code on "people" (go read it!) and so should be removed. I don't want my kids seeing images like this - it's culturally and religiously offensive for me to have to see these images displayed so publicly. If people want to look at images like this privately, so be it, but I have a right to obeject to being forced to see disgusting images like this and that right is very clearly supported by the ASA. Folk who agree, please take the time to lodge your formal complaints!

Trix said...

While it's a disgusting sexist ad, I'm afraid I don't see the connection with kiddie porn either. Yes, she's evidently a young woman, but she is not being posed as a child (Lolita-esque or not), nor does she appear to be pre-pubescent.

I don't know what the regulations are for modelling, but I would be surprised if a child were permitted to do that kind of ad in any case. But until it's either proven or fairly undeniable it's a child, I don't think the analogy does anyone any favours.

Sure, be angry, but let's hit the right target, not invent spurious ones.

Anonymous said...

The "graffiti writer" (Tagger) is the one that should get their head examined.

Anonymous said...

Rob said...

I find it laughable that people have made such a fuss about this poster and condone vandalism as thats what the grafitti is. I work close to the two posters in Symonds Street. The pressure of people who need to grow up has meant the female poster has gone yet Im confronted by a bare chested male every time I look out the window. Do I feel offended, no I don't, do I find it sexist, yes in a way I do. My solution? Don't bother to look at it.

Get a life people!

And as for it being kiddy porn? Get real!

cdjstratton said...

auditory response is a legimitate part of the sexual experience. and yeah, plenty of people enjoy sex. if you find that objectionable then you find basic human desire and lust objectable. you can't dictate to people what is appropriate to create that response for them. thats as ridiculous as telling people that they should all wear black because its better for everyone. you just have to educate and offer the right channels for the desires. complaining about this billboard will do nothing to change society. actually doing something constructive might.

g c said...

This is purely black humour at it's best, there is no deep underlying meaning, there is no deep underlying attack on feminine rights, there is no heavy debasement of females. It is humour built around a subject that is debilitating, depressing and insidious in it's effects on human and family interactions. You guys need to take a deep breath and get a sense of humour, if you dealt with patients with hearing loss every day like I do, you would not only see the humour, but also the amused smiles of the target market. This is not about sex, this is about bringing ease to suffering through humour. You would be better off researching hearing loss, it's effects on communication and on human dignity, rather than spend time on ridiculous assertions on the net about a subject you have no knowledge of.