Why would a women’s anti-cancer campaign build a series of advertisements that features men in humiliating ways?
Because they can.
In Australia, a women’s anti-cancer fundraising event called “Girl’s Night In” is run every year.
As the title of the campaign suggests, it’s a women’s campaign that has chosen to promote and run itself within the community of women. That’s all well and good, but why do they feel that it’s acceptable to make a point of showing men in a humiliating way?
The campaign runs through September and October and this year (2009) it consists of at least four television advertisements that you can view directly from the campaign’s web site. We have included descriptions and screen captures below.
In the first advertisement, titled “Banished”, a man is seen taking out the garbage in the evening. After he has left the house and reached the kerb, the door to the house is heard to be shut and deliberately locked. The surprised and confused man looks around only to notice that the street is full of men who have been locked out of their houses holding the garbage too. The advertisement concludes with a banner “The girls are coming” with a web address at the bottom of the screen girlsnightin.com.au .
I have personally seen this advertisement more times than I can remember over the last couple of weeks. What a waste of money! It does nothing other than to advertise that more advertisements shall follow presumably with the ultimate objective to raise funds for a women’s cause.
I’ll say it again, what a disgraceful waste of money considering that the objective is to raise funds for a cause that apparently is lacking in funds.
As far as portraying men, the message is clear that they’re excluded and not welcome – the clearly audible locking of numerous doors with bewildered men standing on the street makes that clear. Nevertheless, it could be seen as just some mischievous fun. The real test is when you ask how would women feel if the roles were reversed.
This is the least of the offensive advertisements.
The second advertisement, titled “Cloakroom”, shows ‘the girls’ arriving at a house. The hostess takes one of the girls’ coats and opens a closet. We then see a man, tied and gagged, at the bottom of the closet. He appears wide-eyed and nervous. The woman then deliberately throws the coat over his head and closes the closet door.
Now that’s crossing the line. You could argue that “it’s all just fun”, but consider a men’s campaign that shows men arriving at a house for a party where a woman is kept bound and gagged in a closet, followed by having a coat thrown over her head and the door shut. Do you really think that would be acceptable?
If you find this advertisement objectionable then you should consider registering a complaint with the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau. You can register your complaint online here. Hopefully their anti-male bias has changed since earlier times (see our story on Voodoo advertisement). Nevertheless, it’s important to register your complaint because it will be counted on record. Also, the fundraising campaign is being run by the Cancer Council so you could let them know what you think of their campaign. I’ll be asking them how much money is being wasted on running so many television advertisements. The Cancer Council contact details are here.
The ‘Girls Night In’ campaign has two more television advertisements. I won’t go into describing them here but I’ve included some screen captures below. You can view these also at their website.
The final insult is when you consider that women’s health causes in Australia are very well supported, funded and attended by men (if allowed!). Of the numerous workplaces that I have worked in, I have donated many times to fund raising collections for women’s causes and most of the time it was a man taking the collection. I don’t recall seeing anyone (except for when I took a collection as part of movember.com) going around any of those workplaces to raise funds for any of the men’s causes such as prostate cancer.