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Swedish regulator acknowledged a sexist meme about “the wrong guy” because of advertising in Facebook

A local Internet provider using a picture called people to work and said that the council simply does not understand the culture of memes.

The Council of the Swedish Advertising Supervision Organization (Reklamombudsmannen) ruled that the “Wrong Guy” meme discriminated against in gender and portrays women as “easily replaceable”. The reason for considering the meme was the advertisement of the Internet provider Bahnhof in Facebook with a popular picture.

In April, the company called users of social networks to their work, using the template. In the provider’s version, the wrong guy with the signature “You” comes with a girl who personifies his current job. But then he turns to the girl marked Bahnhof. Subscribers have criticized the company for choosing a “sexist” meme and complained to the regulator.

The organization’s board came to the conclusion that the picture compares girls to jobs, whereas a man is portrayed as a “person” who has a choice. Also the second girl (marked as Bahnhof) was recognized as a clear “sexual object”.

This advertising objectifies women. It shows women as interchangeable objects and demonstrates that only their appearance is of interest to everyone. Also, the picture uses humiliating gender stereotypes for both men and women. It seems that men can change girls as easily as a job.

Swedish Advertising Supervision Regulator

Representatives of Bahnhof did not agree with the findings of the commission, saying that they can only be punished for using the old meme. But in any case, the company does not have to change anything: the Swedish advertising industry operates on the principle of self-regulation. This means that the regulator can criticize advertising, but can not prohibit or impose sanctions.

Anyone who is familiar with the Internet and the culture of memes knows how this meme is actually interpreted. In the context of a picture, sex usually does not matter. We explained to the ombudsman the culture of memes, but the council interpreted the picture in its own way.

Representatives Bahnhof

In social networks on the decision of the regulator about the picture reacted mema about the wrong guy.

“Mem about an unfaithful guy – Internet – Swedish body for advertising supervision”


“Mem about an unfaithful guy – the Swedish ad agency is much more serious problem”
Meme about the wrong guy – stock photo, which became popular in the summer of 2017. Usually the picture is used as an illustration of the preference of one thing to another.

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