Saturday 21 September 2019

Sinead Ryan: 'Step carefully in the gender minefield'

Companies get complaints if they start gender stereotyping, Stock photo: PA
Companies get complaints if they start gender stereotyping, Stock photo: PA
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

We know the whole PC thing is getting a bit out of hand. It can be so difficult to know what you're allowed say, or not say, to anyone any more.

In the world of advertising it's even more fraught. Companies get complaints if they start gender stereotyping, for example. Wife cleaning the floor while husband is busy working to provide for the family is a no-no. Blokes being manly and knocking in nails while girls collapse in a heap at the notion of DIY is another.

People with too much time on their hands (you know who you are) clog up the Advertising Standards' in-tray with outraged letters about perceived slights against their sex.

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In the UK, Mondelez and Volkswagen have been hammered under new rules which ban gender stereotyping.

Some 128 complaints were lodged against the former for its Philadelphia cream cheese ad which featured two dads leaving a baby on a conveyor belt at a buffet while distracted by the yummy cheesy offering.

The company had tried to be too clever by half, defending the ad by saying it deliberately chose two dads so as to avoid stereotyping mums as mere child care providers. It was fine until scriptwriters added the colluding line, "Let's not tell mum," which authorities said portrayed the men as "hapless and inattentive", which is a fair enough claim if they did actually leave their baby on a conveyor belt.

I once knew a dreadful mother who attempted to drive off after forgetting to put her baby seat (and indeed the baby) into her car at a supermarket. Thankfully, I was stopped just in time.

The Volkswagen ad portrayed adventurous men (Golf owners, evidently) - a mountain climber, an astronaut and a para-athlete - while the only woman featured was minding her baby in a pram. It's entirely possible mum was planning to go hang-gliding after lunch before completing a triathlon, but hey-ho, Advertising Standards said it was a bit iffy.

You can't be too careful these days.

Broody gay penguins are given eggs-ellent solution

Heaven forfend what the advertisers of Berlin Zoo will spin to attract visitors after it was revealed a pair of gay penguins have tried to hatch a stone in a bid to become parents.

Skipper and Ping discovered the hard way that it takes a bit more than just sitting on a rock, but happily staff have let them adopt a real egg from another penguin pair who "haven't been getting along" and were using the egg as a weapon in their battle of the birds. It happens. Ask any family court lawyer.

They could take their cue from Dingle's Oceanworld Aquarium, where no fewer than eight pairs of penguins are in same-sex relationships.

It's p-p-p-pick up a partner in the Kingdom these days. Dáithí Ó Sé in a penguin suit for the Rose of Tralee has a lot to answer for.

Cost of treats means you have to love the flix

If a chocolate bar is your favourite indulgence you're in the majority. Me, I'm a crisp fiend.

Odeon cinemas surveyed the treats people bought. We go to the cinema twice as often as other Europeans (perhaps due to their penchant for dreary films noirs with subtitles).

I love the pics. I'll go to pretty much anything really, although this summer hasn't had great offerings apart from the 'Apollo' space flix.

Our favourite movie type is romance apparently, accompanied by top-of-the-price-range flavoured popcorn, Ben & Jerry's ice cream (only Cherry Garcia for me) and chocolate sweets. The smelly nachos were far down the list, thankfully.

Nobody was asked which bank they approached for the mortgage to pay for it all.

Irish Independent

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