Feminists have decried as sexist an Australian KFC ad that shows a young woman inadvertently putting on a peep show for two boys as they sit in a parked car.
In the 15-second video commercial, the young woman pauses while walking past the sedan to examine her hippie-style outfit in the window. She checks out her cleavage before spinning around to get a look at her butt.
As the woman leans in to adjust her breasts in a low-cut top, the passenger window rolls down to reveal the two pre-teen boys gawking at her. Their mother is also in the car, and she looks angry.
After an awkward pause, the young woman quips, “Did someone say KFC?”
The ad then cuts to the woman eating KFC and dancing with her bohemian friends at some kind of outdoor festival.
According to the Guardian, “Did someone say KFC?” is the catchphrase of a series of ads the American chicken chain is running in Australia, with “bucket being a play on “f— it.”
Who thinks the KFC ad is sexist?
Collective Shout, an Australian group that advocates against the objectification of women, condemned the ad as “a regression to tired and archaic stereotypes where young women are sexually objectified for male pleasure.”
“Ads like this reinforce the false idea that we can’t expect better from boys. It is another manifestation of the ‘boys will be boys’ trope, hampering our ability to challenge sexist ideas which contribute to harmful behaviour towards women and girls,” said Collective Shout spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski.
“The research is solid: attitudes shape behaviour. A growing number of reports show how reinforcing of gender stereotypes – including in advertising – contributes to a lesser view of women, resulting in their mistreatment.”
Hundreds of social media users have also objected to what they said are the ad’s destructive use of gender stereotypes.
“Aside from teaching young males to objectify women, it’s also just so tired and humourlessly uncreative,” said one liberal writer on Twitter.
Aside from teaching young males to objectify women, it's also just so tired and humourlessly uncreative. https://t.co/kXlXTiMMNf
— Ignoble Jim Houghton (@JimRHoughton) January 22, 2020
“I saw this [ad] and tuned off because it was typical objectification. But when the window went down I nearly threw up!!” a woman commented on social media, according to The Daily Mail.
“I was also horrified that they used a young boy for this ad,” said another woman.
However, Christina Hoff Sommers, a philosopher and critic of contemporary feminism, was among those who defended KFC. She deemed the ad a “funny” take on a “human situation.”
“KFC should not pull ad,” she said. “Don’t let the scolds win.”
First of all, the @kfc ad is funny. Also, the young woman is delightful. The distressed mom, worried little kid in back, mesmerized boy in front—an amusing, human situation. KFC should not pull ad. Don’t let the scolds win https://t.co/aPwEyk7UGP
— Christina Sommers 🧢 (@CHSommers) January 21, 2020
KFC issued a short statement saying, “We apologise if anyone was offended by our latest commercial. Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light.”
The company did not say whether it would stop airing the ad, which was still posted to the KFC Australia YouTube channel.