Street harassment continuously recycled in TV advertising

Catcalls may seem innocent to some. But a recent viral video showing an NYC woman being hassled by men 100+ times in 10 hours exposed just how disturbing, sexist and violating street harassment can be. The video caught international attention – and such behaviour has been a prominent theme

in advertising for decades, reports a CBC news article.

Author Bruce Chambers explores the history of ogling in ad beginning with the 1960s, when behaviour was viewed as normal, even gratifying – something that women should aspire to, from men. By the mid-1990s, humour was being used to undermine the stereotype, with ads showing men receiving similar treatment from women (or even other men), for example. Finally, in 2014, one Australian ad in particular displayed what appeared to be men who were anti-harassment, shouting empowering messages at women, only to discover at they weren’t actually ‘being themselves’ – they hadn’t had their Snickers bar yet. View the ad here.

Who knows how much further street harassment will appear in ad, especially if US laws are passed to criminalise it. Would other nations, and hence, advertising, follow suit? We’ll have to wait and see.

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