In April, the Council for preventing and eliminating discrimination and ensuring equality has ruled on two cases about a shared photo on social media, which represented sexist advert. In one of the cases, for promoting men’s clothing products, it was published a photo of the dressed man in a suit next to undressed woman, in another case, there is a man dressed in an elegant suit, who was standing close to a naked blindfolded woman.
Analyzing two cases, Council stated that photo of a dressed man and undressed woman presented woman’s inferiority, another one represented contraposition between man and naked woman and alluded stimulation of sexual desires and customer acquisition.
Council rejected the defendant’s arguments that these photos represented art photography. Since it was published on the official page of the company, it could not be considered as art photography, but rather a promotion mechanism for goods, which did not enjoy the freedom protection of art expression. Consequently, the fact that woman or some of her parts of the body had been used as an instrument by the advertising business definitely violated their dignity and contributed to strengthen of gender stereotypes in society. In these circumstances, the Council decided that these photos were sexist and humiliated women’s dignity. In another case, it was received a complaint, which reported that a company of car towing used on hood of tow truck a sexist message.
Investigating the case materials, Council decided that company’s message “When she doesn’t want, we will force her” had a sexual connotation, incurable to incite sexual violence against women. As a consequence, the advert message had a sexist character, humiliated women’s dignity and incited to gender violence. Afterwards, the Council recommended to companies to exclude from their activity the usage of denigrating and sexist messages.
According to the provisions of art. 11 par. (2) of the Law on Advertising no. 1227/1997, it is considered sexist advertising, which presents woman or man as a sexual object in humiliating situations that offend human dignity or promotes discriminatory stereotypes that which supports the perception that woman is a weak, vulnerable and dependent as well as she has a lower social standing.
Since the beginning of 2019, Council has received 12 complaints about the humiliation of human dignity, for 5 of them, Council issued Decisions, which confirm these attitudes, and others are still being investigated. At the same time, the number of advertising agencies, who ask the Council’s consultation before publishing photos on banners, has grown.
Council for preventing and eliminating discrimination and ensuring equality is an autonomous public authority, established by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova in 2012 and has a mission to prevent and protect against discrimination, to ensure equality and to promote equal opportunities and diversity.