As I tried to argue in my last post, there are many priorities in Lebanon, but the representation of women in the media is as important as any.
The billboard above was produced by Khoury Home, one of Lebanon’s biggest home appliance chains, on the occasion of Valentine’s day. It caused a stir on Facebook with many criticizing the firm for encouraging a gender stereotype: that women need to be thin. Not only does this alienate the entire overweight population, it also suggests that men can and should regulate women’s bodies to meet that ideal.
Instead of apologizing, Khoury Home completely ignored the critique, focusing instead on their product line. In response to the critics, they published the following post on Facebook:
They also published these photos to illustrate that the campaign was not gender specific.
Now if Khoury Home cannot tell the difference between the male and the female ad, I think they need to put their glasses on. Does the male ad suggest anything about his body or expected physical appearance?
Perhaps the Khoury Home marketing team, or whatever agency came up with this, needs to spend some time thinking about the impact of their work.
I highly recommend that the team watch this great–and very short— video by author and filmmaker Jean Kilborne:
Khoury Home is not alone. The streets of and screens of Lebanon are laden with dehumanizing portraits of the female body. Check out this series of offensive ads by Beirut.com. Here are few, mixed with others I have documented: