KFC in sexism row over advert showing boys staring at woman’s breasts

Sabrina Barr
YouTube/KFC Australia

KFC has issued an apology after airing an advert in Australia that shows two boys staring at a woman’s breasts.

The advert was condemned as “sexist“ by Australian campaign group Collective Shout, and described as “reinforcing gender stereotypes“.

At the beginning of the advert, which has been available to view on the KFC Australia YouTube channel since 30 December 2019, a woman can be seen checking her reflection in a tinted car window.

As she bends down and readjusts her breasts, the car window opens, revealing a woman and two young boys staring at her from inside the vehicle.

Melinda Liszewski, spokesperson for Collective Shout, emphasised adverts such as this one 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,” Ms Liszewski said.

“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.”

Following the criticism sparked by the campaign, which promotes the KFC Zinger Popcorn Box, KFC released an apologetic statement.

“We apologise if anyone was offended by out latest commercial,” the firm stated.

“Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light.”

Nonetheless, the advert is still available to watch on the KFC Australia YouTube channel, and the firm has not yet confirmed whether it will be removed from the video sharing platform or television.

In response to KFC’s apology, Collective Shout questioned what the fast food chain’s “intention” was for the advert.

“You know what stereotypes are, did you believe they were positive stereotypes for women and young boys?” the campaign group tweeted.

“A sincere apology for your actions and clarity on pulling the ad would be preferable to apologising for other people’s reactions.”

The Independent has contacted KFC for comment.

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