Another week, another piece of sexist advertising that we shouldn’t be subjected to in 2017. This time, an estate agent has come under fire for its archaic portrayal of a young woman as an older man’s decorative appendage.
The advert, for London-based firm Marsh & Parsons, shows a silver-haired man wearing a suit with a younger woman draped over him. The caption reads: “A charming period property with a modern extension.” Twitter user Sam Missingham spotted the ad at Baker Street tube station and spoke for us all when she tweeted simply: "Yuk".
Marsh & Parsons said it will take steps to remove the ad from the London Underground after it received a string of social media complaints, which criticised it for playing into sexist stereotypes and portraying women as men’s property.
Many people took to Twitter to vent their understandable frustration after seeing the ad.
One Twitter user suggested the company could have helped to advance a more progressive message had it simply "gender reversed" the advert.
Marsh & Parsons said the ad, which is part of a series that likens people to homes, wasn't meant to be taken seriously (because some people still think that's a good enough excuse for sexist behaviour).
David Brown, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, said the company "has a recent history of tongue-in-cheek advertisements" and that these ads, "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. We have featured a varied mixture of men and women across various cultures and ages and have never sought to alienate or insult anybody," Brown added.
He said the campaign was "created by a team of men and women" and was meant to be "thought-provoking and to prompt conversation," rather than cause offence.
"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."
While many companies today recognise the damage they inflict on women and girls by peddling old gender stereotypes (Unilever's #Unstereotype campaign being a good case in point), others, sadly, remain stuck in the past.