KFC has apologised for an ad in Australia that shows two young boys staring with their mouths wide open as a woman adjusts her breasts.
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.
The apology was issued after Collective Shout, an Australian group which campaigns against the objectification of women, labelled the ad as:
A regression to tired and archaic stereotypes where young women are sexually objectified for male pleasure.
The 15-second ad features a young woman checking her reflection in the tinted windows of a parked car, apparently not realising anyone is inside the vehicle. The ad has been running on television and has also been shared on the fast food chain’s YouTube channel.
As she adjusts her breasts in a low-cut top, the window lowers to show the boys staring, open mouthed, as an older woman looks on disapprovingly from the driver’s seat. The younger woman is also pictured checking out how her bottom looks in a very short playsuit.
While the most of the criticisms have come towards sexism against women, one must not forget the misuse of young school going boys portrayed as opportunist predators.
In a short statement issued on Tuesday, KFC said:
We apologise if anyone was offended by our latest commercial. Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light.
The Collective Shout spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski said :
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 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. She said,
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.
KFC has not confirmed if it will stop using the ad. While women are always prompt in calling out sexism, sadly the male folks need a major shake up to stand up for boy child in the same manner.