Make a Difference

Sexist Ads

The two major Australian grocery retailers are both currently running offensively sexist ads.

The Coles ad is the less offensive of the two. ‘You shouldn’t be taxed for being a woman’ it says. So Coles will pay the GST on the whole range of feminine hygiene products.

How nice. I don’t think I should be taxed for being a man, either. So why aren’t they paying the GST on shaving products, or hair restoring products?

I also don’t think I should be taxed for having to eat, or having to wear clothes, but I doubt any retailer is going to say ‘Well that’s unfair, we”ll pay the GST on life’s essentials.’

Women spend most of the family income, so it is natural that retailers should target advertising to women. But suggesting that women are somehow being victimised by the taxation system, and that they, Coles, are bravely and generously remedying this injustice is dishonest nonsense.

The Woolworths ad is even worse.

A woman is making scones. She talks about the ingredients, and then says that recipe doesn’t say anything about fancy packaging. Then she looks at her husband, and says ‘I’ve never been worried about fancy packaging.’

Imagine the uproar if the ad went like this instead:

A bloke is in his toolshed. He says that every tool is in its place, and every tool has its purpose. He adds that tools don’t need fancy packaging, and then looks at his wife and says ‘I’ve never been worried about fancy packaging.’

People would recognise this for what it was Рa deliberate putdown. They would complain. And they would be right to do so.

So why is it OK for advertisers to belittle men?


  1. Jason

    I totally disagree. That is one of my favourite ads of all time. Here’s the trick… she’s right. He doesn’t have fancy packaging. That’s not a putdown. It’s just the truth.

    But she obviously loves him anyway. That is a beautiful thing. That’s something worth hanging onto. Don’t ruin it with the PC game.

  2. Peter

    She doesn’t love him – it’s an ad. My wife loves me, and I guess you could say I don’t have fancy packaging either. But I would probably not be pleased if she made a joke of this to others.

    I am glad you enjoy the ad, but I still think if the roles were reversed there would be an outcry. Certainly my wife’s feelings would be badly hurt if I made such a comment about her – as if I was saying ‘You’re ugly and scruffy, but I still love you.’ That would not be love, and there would not be anything beautiful in it.

  3. Jason

    True. But it’s a woman saying it to a man and that is different because men think and function differently than women. It’s not rocket science.

    Trying to force people to pretend men are the same as women is silly.

  4. Hazel

    the new Woolwoths ads about the “fresh food mums” are pretty bad, has anyone noticed this? Depicting multiple wives and mothers cooking for their families, saying “You can find one in almost every home across Australia. They are fresh food mums…” I think these ads are worse…

  5. Lance D Boyle

    Perhaps,I would hope that men didn’t take things so seriously,how could any relationship expect to last without a sense of humour from both sides,cajoling is a friendly way of jousting,or mental wrestling, without malice just as this particular commercial was meant to demonstrate,I wasnt upset by the ad at all after all I AM the guy in it.
    Please learn to relax a little.

  6. maja

    No offence but you should get your period before commenting on how unfair it is that you get taxed for being a man. This goes beyond personal hygiene and looking nice by shaving, imagine if you were on the lower end of the economic scale and could not afford to buy pads because of gst. I think that you are being sexist by linking the need for sanitary products with hair restoring products as if they had the same purpose. Also whilst there is an increasing commentary that belittles men in some way, this will never be sexism because of the patriarchal structure of the society even in the western world. Men are still the dominant sex when it comes to income, social positions and career achievements and until parity is established in all sectors one cannot be sexist. Because any kind of ‘ism’ i.e. racism. sexism is only relevant when the victim holds less power in a society.

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