'Sexist' washing line image among complaints upheld by Advertising Authority

'Sexist' washing line image among complaints upheld by Advertising Authority

A complaint against a "sexist" image showing a woman hanging clothes on a washing line has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

The image appeared on the company's van, which was then shown on their website, featuring a woman wearing a crop top, briefs and high heels.

The complainant said the image was sexist as it "reinforced harmful stereotypes to anyone who may see it, including children".

In response to the complaint, the company said it was "shocked", adding the image had received "a lot of positive feedback from both male and female clients" and it was "often a great topic of conversation on many deliveries".

They questioned the complaint's remark regarding the woman's clothing, saying: "The woman featured was wearing as much clothing as one may see on a beach where many children enjoy their summer holidays."

The company added they did not believe hanging out the washing was "a woman's job", while also dismissing the complainant's suggestion that the image was designed to "catch the attention of young men".


Although the ASAI noted images appearing on company vehicles were not under the remit of their Code, the image of the van on the company's website did fall under their remit.

The Authority upheld the complaint, adding the context of the image was of importance as "people would not routinely carry out tasks such as hanging out the clothes in their underwear".

"Where the context was appropriate, such as for example where the product is underwear, then images of models wearing underwear appropriately would not of themselves be an issue under the Code," the ASAI's conclusion said.

The Authority said they did not consider an image constituted gender stereotyping when there is no implication that such an activity should only be carried out by a woman, however, they noted: "In this case there was no relationship between the lack of clothing and the task portrayed."

The ASAI's latest complaints bulletin showed 28 out of 32 complaints received by the Authority were upheld.

The complaints were made on grounds relating to misleading/substantiation/environmental claims, decency and propriety, and misleading/substantiation/health & beauty.

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