15 February 2012

Ryanair walks the line on Sexy v. Sexist

Twitter has been a-buzz today with the news that Ryanair's recent print advert was deemed "too sexy" for UK media. Well, actually not too sexY but too sexIST. There's a big difference and I'll try my best to show you what I think that difference is. 

Here's a picture of the advert that appeared in two UK newspapers. I'll let you decide for yourself on this one. What do you think? Is this good advertising? Is this okay? Ladies in particular, do you want to fly with Ryanair now? Better yet, are you inclined to work for them now?

 Ryanair advert

The folks who get to decide what adverts get banned are the ASA: The Advertising Standards Authority. They don't only make decisions about the sex-factor, but also keep a close eye on advertising for alcohol and tobacco, adverts directed at children, and female body-image among other issues that arise. 

Recently, the ASA banned a L'Oreal advert featuring Rachel Weisz. Here it is:

Rachel Weisz in the banned L'Oréal advert (click for full image)

They were advertising a product that supposedly makes your skin super-smooth. But in this image her face is digitally altered to make her skin look smooth. It's photoshop and not skin cream that achieves these results. The ASA says that is false advertising and will not allow it.

But what about those Ryanair girls? The women that appear in the adverts are actual cabin crew who volunteered to take part. So that's not FALSE advertising, right? It can't be offensive if the women wanted to do it, right? That's what Ryanair says, but the ASA disagrees. 

Sexy is okay. After all, you don't have to work in advertising to know that sex sells! Sexist, however, is not okay. Let's look at two adverts by Axe that the ASA has reviewed. One was banned and one wasn't. I think this is the prefect precedent for the difference between sexy and sexist.

Here's the banned one:

This one wasn't banned:

Can you see the difference? There's actually an alternate version of that second one where the ladies in the end do move their hands. That was not approved for tele. Ok, so it is a fine line. But at the end of the day I think the ASA is a necessary organisation. I really think that most of the time they make the right call. 

What do you think? Was it the right call to ban the Ryanair advert? Are there any other banned adverts that you think are unfair?

If you'd like to learn a little more about the whole affair you can see what the BBC reported here, or what Huff Post had to say here, or get the SkyNews take here

14 February 2012

Everyone take a Time Out!

Most of the internet has made me want to throw up today. Romantic and Sentimental are foreign countries to me at the best of times. But shove them in my face covered in glitter and flowers and fricken red velvet cake (which by the way, unless you put beets in it, is just red cake) and now I'm pretty sure I've forgotten to take my malaria pills, drank the water in Mexico, or overdone it on the road-side seafood. Not only is my stomach spinning into a dangerous state of discomfort, but my surroundings are unfamiliar and I don't speak the language!

You might say I'm bitter. But I've actually always found Valentine's Day depressingly silly, even all the years when I had someone handsome to take me on dates. It is the icky-gooey romance that simply does not appeal to me at all. Or maybe I just hate having a schedule for my emotions; I'm supposed to go out of my way to express my love today? Why? I'll tell you I love you when I feel like it. And probably, when you've done something that genuinely makes me feel love for you.

To be clear, I don't hate love or couples or relationships. On the contrary, I'm a relationship junkie. My ultimate goal is to find someone who I can love for the rest of my life. And to help me achieve this goal, Time Out, our trusty guide to all things London, has given the internet the single best article all day: 10 last-ditch chat-up lines for Londoners.

This one is my favourite. I'm tempted to actually use it.

Bad Valentine: Fine 

13 February 2012

Hands firmly in my pockets!

So I've got a surprise week off this week. And being a surprise, I obviously haven't made any awesome plans for all this free time. Also, I've failed to put aside any funds for spontaneous holidays during surprise weeks off. Does that make me a shit life-planner? Probably.

So I find myself drinking too much tea and wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do with myself. Oh yeah! I have a blog! Forgot about that. And you probably forgot about that too since I've been inexcusably absent for the better part of two months? three months? Whatevs. I'M BACK! (for now) And I'm using this opportunity to rant about things that generally annoy me about life.

Today's subject of rantation: Being told for hands in my pockets.

At school I had a horrible uniform that had the one single benefit of Grand Canyon-depth pockets; perfect for holding all kinds of treasures! Pencils, reading specs, small books, lab goggles, protractor... yeah, I was a cool kid. But pockets were best for hiding the hands of a socially-awkward teenager.Well, at least I thought this is what pockets were for. Apparently I was wrong. Pockets in school uniforms are actually a devilish temptation sent to test the strength of my willpower. "Ladies", they say, don't put their hands in pockets. Well I've got some news for you, entire tradition of Catholic education:

It's been years since I've been at school so, "Why am I still annoyed at this?" you ask. Well, I've managed to land myself temporarily (fingers crossed) in a job where I'm treated like a six-year-old with short-term memory loss and attention deficit disorder. Now sometimes I can be childish, I may occasionally forget something you told me three seconds ago, and I am sporadically attracted to shiny things. But to assume that I constantly suffer all three ailments simultaneously? Simply unjust. 

The point I'm getting to is that once again, I find myself being told off for using the pockets that are conveniently located near the waist of my trousers. Being a mentally retarded six-year-old I obviously do not deserve an explanation for why this is bad practice. I must simply do as I'm told and not ask questions. But there are rumours floating around about what the reasons may be. 

First, there's the "lady" argument which was successfully disputed above. Then there's the "it doesn't look professional" argument. Hmm... 
These are some pretty professional looking people, right?

Another rumoured argument is that hands in pockets in unsanitary. To this I say, What the hell do you put in your pockets? And how rarely do you wash your trousers? I can think of several allowed behaviours that are infinitely more unsanitary than putting my hands in my pockets: riding the tube, using public toilets, shaking hands with a stranger, eating at McDonalds, and the list can go on... 

If I can guarantee you that:
a.) My understanding of a "lady" is not negated by hands in pockets, 
b.) I can act professional regardless of where my hands are (within reason. Get your minds out of the gutter!), and 
c.) my trousers are clean and my pockets are free from faeces, semen, and Ebola virus,
then can you get off my back and let me put my hands where I bloody-well please?!