Monday, 10 March 2008

La Meute: sexism in advertising

La Meute have published their awards for advertising which appeared during 2007. As in previous years, the Prix Femino is awarded to the advertisements seen in France that promote the most positive images of women, while the Prix Macho is the opposite. The site is in French.

As Blogger is allowing only one picture to be uploaded at a time, I will show the three that I particularly like.

The first prize went to this one of a man with a tattoo saying "Not my mother, not my sister" with the caption "Prostitution: neither for mine, nor others". La Meute praises it for approaching prostitution from the angle of the man who pays. It marks the first national campaign in France.


Third prize went to this, with the caption "You sponsored her as a child, now it is she who gives the lessons." La Meute likes the promotion of the independence of women and the assoication of women with a scientific discipline.

woman teacher

This recruitment advertisement for a scientific and technical company is liked because it shows a normal woman in a professional environment, and who appears competent and pleasant.

newspaper ad - ordinary woman

Dolce et Gabbana is kept out of the Prix Macho because for years it has produced images which could be described almost pornographic.

The first prize went to Volkswagen for a series of three ads showing girls of the "ravissante idiote" type (does that mean bimbo?). In one she is choosing a car which is goes perfectly with her new shoes. I can't find an illustration.

Another, intended to promote technology in the d├ępartement of Yvelines (which dismays me because I used to live there) shows a girl in a sleeveless top with the slogan "I [heart] techno". It doesn't show much else other than her chest, and the connection with technology escapes me.

I have to presume that some of it is an attempt to shock, such as the Ryan Air one recently which had to be withdrawn because of the sexualised portrayal of a schoolgirl. Really, why can't some of these very creative brains put them to more constructive use. I have come across some excellent advertising for good causes which I am keeping for a future post. So it can be done.


  1. Good causes are always good!
    I like the first two!
    I've run into a few girls working as Prostitutes but not because they choose :(

  2. It's good to see examples of good, positive advertising. It seems to me that most advertising emanates from twisted brains and is aimed at those with no brain at all. These at last treat women as people rather than disposable possessions.

  3. Some commercial (I think actually most of them), but these are art and promote a good course.

    Thanks for sharing - a very readable post and well documented!

  4. At the Dolce et Gabbana link, one ad, Long Champs, where they saw sex, I saw a cartouche. Which says to me that whomever is judging these ads see a brown naked body as intrinsically sexual.

  5. Hi Nicole, thanks. There can't be much worse than feeling you have no choice than to work as a prostitute.
    I know what you mean Dragonstar!
    Renny, thanks!
    Hi Hathor! I thought the same about the Longchamps ad. For me, luggage = foreign holidays, so a girl in a swimsuit looking Eqyptian (my first thought) seemed OK. I think those ones were chosen by voting on some other site but it was the only one showing Dolce et Gabbana I could find.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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