A controversial Match.com advert has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the dating site was slammed with complaints that it promoted negative gender stereotypes.
Everyone has their own things they look for in a partner, but I think it's safe to say features like 'makes me a protein shake' and 'lays out my socks' aren't make-or-break qualities.
In spite of this, these are some of the examples used in the Match.com advert which detailed how a man would realise his girlfriend was 'a keeper'.
The controversial ad, shared on TikTok, featured the girlfriend as she brought a drink to her boyfriend while he chilled out in a chair, and even working the TV remote to find the football while the guy stood alongside her, simply watching the actions unfold.
The list of reasons why the woman in this particular ad was a 'keeper' were as follows: "I will make him his protein shake after the gym. I always make sure he has a fresh towel and socks for after his shower. I put the football on for him every evening."
As a girlfriend who definitely doesn't do any of these things, should I be worried?
Well, no. It should go without saying that people can be 'keepers' without any of these traits, and the fact that doing tasks around the house were used as examples for holding on to a relationship did not sit well with viewers.
The internet was rife with complaints after the ad was released, with one person writing: "Welcome back to 1882. @Match @match_UK kindly explain why you've made this tiktok? The things that make HIM realise she's a keeper? She makes him drinks, puts out his towel and clothes while showering, and puts football on every night for him. All in skimpy outfits."
Following the complaints, the ASA pointed out that the fact the woman was doing domestic chores to 'please her male partner' could have been interpreted as reinforcing a negative gender stereotype.
They commented: "We further noted that the actions of the woman were one-sided and were not reciprocated by the man in the ad."
Welcome back to 1822. @Match @match_UK kindly explain why you've made this tiktok? The things that make HIM realise she's a keeper? She makes him drinks, puts out his towel and clothes while showering, and puts football on every night for him. All in skimpy outfits. 😡😡😡 pic.twitter.com/MoETUL3clb— Helen Pack (@helen_pack) July 12, 2022
The agency also drew attention to the title of the video, "things that make him realise I'm a keeper", claiming it 'reinforced the idea that women should be subservient to men in order to maintain a successful relationship'.
"We concluded that the ad perpetuated negative gender stereotypes and was likely to cause harm and widespread offence," the ASA said.
Declaring the ban, it added: “We told Match.com to ensure that they did not portray sexist or negative gender stereotypes in future marketing communications.”
In response to the backlash, Match.com explained the ad had formed part of a set of three videos in which the man also carried out gestures, but acknowledged it would have been more appropriate for there to have been reciprocated gestures by both members of the couple in the same video.
With that sorted, I'm off to not make a protein shake or lay out fresh towels.
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