Are These Brazilian Gym Ads Offensive, Or Just Creepy?

A collection of bizarre Brazilian gym ads elicited a loud, collective “WTF?” from the internet today. As you can see, they show already buff women using men’s big, hairy arms to open jars and wine bottles. On closer inspection, the women have not actually sprouted man arms, but are having men stand behind them and put their arms through their armpits, like that “weird arms” game you used to play with your friends.

Writes Buzzfeed‘s Mark Duffy:

These two ads, “Be Independent,” are for the Vila Olimpica Gym in São Paulo. Things wrong with these admittedly interesting-looking layouts:

—The women are already buff enough to open jars/wine themselves.
—Even if they weren’t that buff, they still wouldn’t need a man’s help with those tasks.
—Assuming these are photoshoots (but even if they aren’t), the men have the penises right up against the women’s butt cracks.

I can see how the third one would be unpleasant to think about, but I’m actually not all that mad at these ads. Barring massive steroid intake, women are obviously not going to get giant hairy arms from working out, but I like the idea that a woman could be as strong as a man, or at least strong enough to open a jar without assistance. Speaking as someone who pretty much only uses her arms to lift food into her mouth, I would not mind having some (any) upper body strength. I also like that they emphasize the fact that you should go to the gym to get stronger, not just lose weight. How many gym ads have focused only on the women’s slender bodies and not what they can do with them?

But maybe there’s some obvious, glaring sexism that I’m missing here. What say you?

(Via Buzzfeed)

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    • Niamh

      I get the feeling the ad is saying; you would look fucking ridic if you had to constantly have someone else’s strong arms to do stuff. Be independent. Get your own strong arms. Then you can relieve penis-crack-man of his army duties and do stuff on your own.

      So… the opposite of everything the angry internet man said.

      • Cate

        That’s what they say to me too. I mean, they’re still weird looking and don’t make me want to exercise, but I don’t think they’re sexist.

    • Holden

      I’m envisioning a new weekly column: Sexist or Stupid?