They reinforce the culturally imposed role for women to perform femininity - No matter where or in what context women must always be beautiful, thin and be available for sex. Such advertising has proved to traumatise girls and provoke extreme dieting. In addition, how can boys learn to have healthy relationships with actual girls when all they see are airbrushed images of perfection.
Obviously Hunky Dorys don't want women, girls or gay men to buy their products and I for one am delighted to never purchase any of their products again.
The standard defence is that it's only a bit of a laugh and that anyone who objects has no sense of humour. It's not fucking funny. The company has also decided that its ok cos the photographer has done Sports Illustration's photoshoots in the past and therefore is an artiste!
Women's sports teams are undervalued in this country. They are rarely lauded on the national sportscasts or given widespread public recognition. Since HD was promoting men's rugby why didn't HD put men in revealing bikinis? If you think that idea is ridiculous, why is it ridiculous? Why are women put in this position and not men. There seems to be a prevailing attitude that people don't want to look at barely clad men. Well, bring it on. Someone should do the exact shoot with male models and plaster it all over the country with suggestive slogans. Would you still laugh and tell men who feel objectified that they are overreacting?
The French rugby team pose for a mostly nude calendar every year. There is nudity, it is very popular and it is a world away from the exploitative ads that Hunky Dory produced.
The usual non apology apology was trotted out by Raymond Coyle, chief executive of Largo Foods:
I’m sorry if some people are offended.... we don’t think the ads are sexist or too provocative. Walter Iooss, the photographer for Sports Illustrated, took the photographs and we think they are very good.”
Well portraying women as sex objects contributes to Ireland's rape culture, which has become so evident in recent months.
The difference between these ads and the nudish photographs of the French rugby team could not be more different... engagement with the camera, the gaze and the fact that these are actual players who have chosen to wear few clothes. These two things are not the same. Compare and contrast the following (NSFW)
See the difference?