This week has shaped up to resemble a time warp in terms of sexism: the day after Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon were plastered across the cover of a tabloid with a headline asking us to forget Brexit and compare their legs, a London tube advert comparing a woman to a house extension is doing the rounds on Twitter.
Estate agents March & Parsons produced a poster in which a young woman is pictured draped over an older man with the caption “A charming period property with a modern extension.”
Beyond the fact that the picture is sleazy in its composition, the text has reduced her to a subordinate, an accessory.
Twitter user Sam Missingham summed it up pretty perfectly when she shared a photo of the ad from Baker Street tube simply captioned: “Yuk”.
An onslaught of further posts pointed out how out of date the chauvinistic and archaic sentiment is, with one user saying: “Some people with actual degrees and proper suits sat round a table and all agreed on that. We’re doomed.”
While another pointed out “How did @MarshandParsons estate agents miss 2nd half of 20th c & 21st [century]?”
@samatlounge Oh wow. Some people with actual degrees & proper suits sat round a table & all agreed on that. We're doomed.— Tracy Kuhn (@Tracy_Kuhn) March 27, 2017
Plus, plenty of female users pointed out the obvious fact that they are house buyers in their own right.
What a 1980s chauvinistic advert. Marsh and Parsons have alienated female clients with this advertising campaign. https://t.co/8vg9glmmfd— Tanya Dias (@chrotania) March 27, 2017
The agency has now agreed to take down the ads and the Advertising Standards Authority is assessing six complaints about the advert, according to The Evening Standard. However, in a statement to The Telegraph, the agency isn’t exactly owning up to failing to respect women, equality or the fact it’s 2017, nor have they apologised.
Just like the Daily Mail’s May-Sturgeon cover’s caption, they’ve justified the ad’s sexist line as “tongue-in-cheek” humour.
David Brown, chief executive of Marsh & Parsons, told the publication: “Marsh & Parsons has a recent history of tongue-in-cheek advertisements that compare people to property and reflect that the range of people we work with are as diverse as the types of properties we sell and let.”
“We have always tried to get our message across with a gentle sense of humour and up until now, our work has been extremely well-received,' he added.
He also explained that the campaign featured a “varied mixture of men and women across various cultures and ages”, and they “never sought to alienate or insult anybody”.
“It would appear that this particular advert - taken apart from the rest of the campaign - has done so and we will be taking steps to remove it as a result,” he added.
Image: Courtesy Sam Missingham