Sexy Not Sexist


Felicity writes:

In regards to one of your contributor’s posts about the ITRA [Irish Tag Rugby Association] using ridiculously sexist advertising yesterday. I received the same email and also sent a complaint via email. This is the reply I got (from a man, surprise surprise):

Thanks for the email and your thoughts on our latest marketing
campaign. Apologies if you found it offensive.
The photo shoot was organised jointly by ourselves and our Charity Partner for 2012, the Irish Heart Foundation. The campaign focus was
on the heart/love side of tag rugby, which has featured very prominently in national media over the past few months, including a piece on Grainne Seoige’s Modern Life TV show about the number of couples who have met playing tag. We actually also announced yesterday in our weekly ezine about another couple who met playing tag rugby and who are getting married in May…so we deliberately took a different angle on previous tag rugby photo shoots to focus more on the social
angle of the game rather than the playing side.
This campaign deliberately has less to do with “regulation” and more to do with “sex appeal”. Hence the reason for the model Rachel Wallace, who incidentally won ICA Bootcamp on RTE last week, and the 3 lads from the Panthers team. The campaign was to appeal to the non-tag rugby playing public, as posters featuring the models in
different poses are now in pubs and work places all over the country. We felt that a focus on the social side of the game would appeal more
to non-players. There are hundreds of photos on our website and Facebook page of female (and male) tag players, and we publish these on our weekly via our Venue Pages Photo Gallery and regular updates on Facebook, and these are also very popular with players. Thus far, both the feedback from people having noticed the ads/posters and the numbers signing up to our individual “Join a Team” service, would support the fact that the campaign has achieved its goal of appealing to the non-tag rugby playing community. Hopefully this explains our reasoning behind the campaign.

70 thoughts on “Sexy Not Sexist

    1. Paul Quigley (@paulyq)

      He’s getting the classic “doofus” smack in the face. He’s every hapless male figure from Rosanne Barr’s husband to Leave it to Jeanie. I don’t understand how this ad is understood as sexist against women when it’s just another classic “dumb guy” pose. (Seriously: who is getting more positive/hopeful/govt sponsored messages these days: 16 year old girls or 16 year old boys. Be honest.)

  1. Rompsky

    Good retort. Pretty much what everyone already knew.

    Shocking a man wrote this email, shocking a man booked a girl who was more than willing to pose for a photo shoot as it’s her career. Shocking that male tv producers still put on Salpa on tv. Bloody men

    Maybe you should protest against the half naked dudes outside hollister, or in davidoff aftershave ads, or anyone showing a shoulder or knee in any way…. Asexual ads for all

    Marketing 101- sex sells. Both ways.

    1. w

      absolutlely correct!, the ladies cant have it both ways…. so either get over it or ban it for both sexes…

    2. Three Broadsheets to the Wind

      Good retort? Ha! Man you are a dullard. God help you if you ever have daughters. The rampant sexual objectification of women is not something we, as men, should not support. Jesus Christ it’s 2012.

      1. Rompsky

        What were they meant to say? Her clothes fell off? It was a good retort because they pretty much said it like it is, sex sells

        1. niamh

          A model of man as aggressor / consumer and woman as product / shocked ickle giggle barbie is not ‘sex’….it’s sexism.

          1. Rompsky

            Does this stuff not happen all the time in advertising? Just strange to see so much anger towards one campaign. Hunky Dorys are still running theirs!

            The objective of marketing is to get a reaction…. job done. Topless lads outside hollister? Hugo Boss and aftershave in general with guys usually topless. I agree its more one sided but still done for both no? And nobody surely pays attention to what these people are doing anyway?

            (Also they might hate me for this but… not the first time btw. I remember this from a few years ago)

          2. Nigel

            There’s loads of sexism in advertising, therefore your complaint about sexism in advertising is invalid!

      1. Three Broadsheets to the Wind

        Really? So no one should complain about the sexual objectification of women because there are starving children in developing countries? This post has brought out a shameful display of ignorance and male privilege.

        1. Rumpleforeskin

          I don’t get it. What am I supposed to be looking at/enraged about here? I guess one of them needed to be wearing the Irish Heart foundation logo somewhere. Is it because she’s not in official tag rugby gear, is it because she’s a model, is it because he’s grabbing her tag, is it because what? What in god’s name are you complaining about this time?

        1. JRH

          Not seeing the sexism inherent in this image of a woman displayed as a sexualised object for consumption must require a serious gap in reasoning. :/

  2. Bobcat

    Being honest, I think the advert is cheap and lazy. The only people I know who play tag rugby are women. Its a women sport. If your trying to get men to play it, thats fine. But drop the nonscence about heart/love side of tag rugby, that’s not what I’m seeing when I look at this poster. Frankly I’m insulted by how lazy the campaign is.

    1. AC

      Given a team is made of four men and three women, I’m not really sure if your demographic data adds up there.

  3. Mick Quinn

    … And the Tag Rugby people can’t believe how well the whole thing has worked to publicise their sport… BTW Those pink things are the “Tags” that you pull off the other player in “TAG” Rugby rather than tackling them… What a *Girls* Game!

  4. Nigel

    In short: please stop pointing out that all this sexist stuff is sexist because everybody does it and nobody cares unless you point it out in which case sorry, but f@@k you.

    1. niamh

      Everybody does sexism and nobody cares? What does it take for me to qualify as a somebody, Nigel?

      1. Nigel

        (Ahem: I was attempting to sarcastically paraphrase the critiques of the criticism. In my own defence, some of this shit is beyond satire.)

        1. JRH

          Yeah that comment could well be a legitimate one in this thread. Bloody hell, I haven’t been this depressed by Broadsheet commenters since the breastfeeding article.

          What is this, the Youtube? :|

          1. Xiao Liu

            It’s a “rule of the loudest” type forum breathlessly awaiting its new comments voting system.

    1. Xiao Liu

      Actually it looks like the girls have taken their proper shorts off and left them in the sand for the shoot.

      1. Rara

        O my god… NONE of the lads behind the girls are looking at the cameras theyre all looking at one girls bum lol

    2. Rompsky

      So if women choose to wear skimpy shorts then they are sexist? What if the lads had their tops off in that photo. Would that be sexist?

  5. Jockstrap

    Girls after boys and boys after girls all pretending they’re there for the sport.

    Tag Rugby = Validate me

  6. gick puke

    Fair play to Felicity, How many times do we have to see orange clad models in their knickers shivering in front of some middle aged photographer using sex to sell anything from toiletries to charity campaigns. Snore.

  7. Xiao Liu

    Yes, it’s sexist, but more importantly from a marketing perspective it’s also really, really annoying (and dumb). I see that, and I know I will never play tag rugby because I infer from this that the people who play it are sexist and really, really annoying (and dumb). So if that’s what they were going for, they should definitely keep doing it.

    1. Rompsky

      Its pretty sad that you will never play the sport tag rugby on the basis of an ad campaign by one organisation

      1. Xiao Liu

        Not really, it’s pretty handy actually. I hate team sports and I’m really lazy. That, and I don’t fancy a pudgy smug-looking jock grabbing me tags like it shows in the pcture. Also, I don’t hit men. The whole thing’s just not my scene, sure.

  8. Mollie

    Well the message I’m getting is loud and clear, sex is better for your heart than rugby, also sex is better for your spine and brain than rugby. So drop the tag rugby, grab a young buck and get a healthy heart.

  9. antoinbeag

    If it’s about the love side of tag rugby and they have a pretty female model, why do they have an absolute munter of a man?

  10. Mike Baldwin

    Highly amusing ire being displyed by both sexes here. I think it’s harmless and I have a daughter blah blah blah….god, can we focus on something a little more pressing?

    1. Nigel

      Well I guess we could talk about how that thing over there that irks those people over there doesn’t irk me in the slightest except inasmuch as people being irked by a thing that doesn’t irk me is kind of irksome. I shall express this by affecting ennui and blithe indifference.

    2. JRH

      I find it deeply depressing when people respond to issues they feel don’t affect them by professing their boredom. social justice issues don’t come with an exciting narrative structure.

  11. ConSki

    don’t know much about tag rugby, but don’t you have to have a certain number of men and certain number of women?
    And if i’m not mistaken women scoring tries are worth more than a man scoring a try.
    Surely that’s inherently unequal, dareisay sexy… no wait, sextits… no sexist… that’s the one.

  12. orieldude

    I’m impressed that your man has admitted that tag rugby is just glorified blind dating.

    I’m somewhat less impressed that the 6.99999999 billion people on the planet who don’t ‘play’ the ‘sport’ have just been referred to as the “non-tag rugby playing community”. Jesus wept.

  13. Rara

    PR execs, Ive found a solution for you: just print out the below 4 points. The next brief you receive just delete the email and follow these simple steps.
    Hours mulling over tricky briefs only come up with the same solution has been drastically shortened!!!

    You need:
    1) Random blonde (+ points the more orange her skin is)
    2)pink faced politician or other middle aged guy – who nobody knows but is related to the whole thing in some corporate/financial way
    3) background of either a) along the St Stephens Green Fence b) at the front door entrance of whatever’s being promoted (if not possible random georgian door will suffice) or c) a field (+points for large novelty cheque/signage)
    4) will include one or both of following a) duck pout b) jazz hands. (+points if politician / middle aged random is doing said Jazz hands while getting duck-face kisses on both cheeks for two girls.

    DOUBLE points for directing consumers to an unmonitored blank Facebook page with no updates,interaction or incentives.

    Job done!

    Re sexism : It’s very simple. here’s exactly what this image says to me:

    it implies men are there to do ‘serious’ sport cause they take it seriously… Uniforms etc. It implies that the girls can come along too… Just so long as they are peroxide blonde, tanned and wear sexy clothes on the pitch. For the benefit of the men. Obviously. Don’t worry girls you don’t HAVE to take the sport seriously (ahem, Happy Heart Foundation – health… How does that work)… “after all you’ve got some husband catching to do, so let’s just make that number one prority OK?” God – id say if she ran just one length of that pitch the slap would be running down her face… That’s not being mean about her, thats exactly what would happen to any girl wearing full makeup on a pitch. Guys it’s not a brewing romance being depicted It’s sleaze. But tell you what, why don’t you take the guy’s shirts off and slap a red heart on his lady lumps equivilant and we’ll call it quits?

    If you don’t clearly see that message between the lines lads, don’t worry – We’ve had over 20 years hearing the same message from various media campaigns, cinema, gaming, magazines and my Barbie. It’s easier to understand if you’ve heard the message all your life.

  14. PogueMahone

    Attractive women are used to sell things to men, because men (SHOCK HORROR!!!) like attractive women.
    Attractive women are also used to sell things to women.
    Is it sexist to have good looking girls advertise shampoo, clothes and Special K too?
    Incidentally, doesn’t the Dublin Fire Brigade charity calendar sell fairly well to women?

    1. seany_delight

      Couldn’t agree more. Physical attraction is part of nature. So what if its been a little conditioned this way or that. That is also a natural part of being intelligent beings.

      If the point of the campaign is to stay healthy, do some exercise and meet a nice guy/girl what’s the problem?

      Lazy advert maybe. Nothing more.

  15. seany_delight

    People forget that women only have their slightly less then equal rights, because men said they could.

  16. spucks

    i was in a meeting this morning where the room was far too small for the amount of people attending. the seats were all occupied by women & the other women and the men in attendance stood around the sides. i was going to cry sexism but in truth i didn’t really see it as sexist.
    i actually didn’t even notice until we were leaving and then the comments in this thread came to mind. the reality is that if you want to dig deep enough then that was a form of sexism also. as is a man carrying the heavy shopping bags, being expected to hold the door open etc. not chivalrous, sexist!
    i hope that the people commenting here are equally outraged when sexism works in their favour.

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