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in brief: roxy cops criticism over new ad

Image: screen shot from ad

Image: screen shot from ad


This week’s controversial Roxy Pro Biarritz 2013 Official teaser ad, has again highlighted the divisive issue of visual exploitation of women in Australian society and advertising.

Released on Wednesday, the advertisement, promoting the Women’s World Surfing Championships, has been slammed by media and women’s rights advocates as ‘sexploitation’ and demeaning to women, while others have accused Roxy of capitalizing on the moral hype in the media.

The promotional video features Stephanie Gilmore – five time world champion, and Roxy’s new ambassador – erotically getting ready for a morning surf. The champion, whose face isn’t shown, never actually catches a wave in the advert; rather it shows her lolling about topless in her sheets, putting on a white see-through shirt (silhouetted by the light of a window), showering, carrying a surfboard to a car, driving, stripping off at the beach and finally paddling the board through exceedingly calm waters.

Roxy’s aim was to encourage viewers to guess the famous female surfer featured in the video. Yet, the almost exclusive focus on Gilmore’s legs, breasts and backside, rather than her face or talent, has led to advocates of the sport rejecting the promotional video.

Surfing sites such as The Surfers Path have refused to join the controversial hype that the Roxy ad has begun. Instead the site chose to publish a spoof of the Roxy ad created by #WhoAmIJustSmell stating, ‘now flip it to the opposite gender and you’ll know all you need to about the latest techniques for market a surfing contest.’

The spoof, now with over 74,000 views, illustrates the disequilibrium in the treatment of genders in advertising.

Clementine Ford, likewise, condemned the fact that an ad of this form would never exist to promote male surfing, ‘there are no slow panning shots up half naked men’s bodies, no irrelevant montages that focus more on the process of getting into the water than what they do once they get there.’

Ford declared that the subject of the advertisement should be considered a big deal, ‘because the most amazing thing female surfers can do has precisely nothing to do [with] giving a hidden audience a boner.’

Yet, Gilmore’s father has defended the controversial advert by stating that the 25-year old knows what she is doing.

Mr. Gilmore made statements defending the Roxy ad to the Gold Coast Bulletin, arguing that Stephanie and Roxy are doing all they can to promote women’s surfing; and if the ad got more people interested in the sport, then that is a good thing.

Check out Frances Chapman’s  opinion piece on the ad and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

By Eileen McInnes

[Image Credit]

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