Do you know about Zoo Weekly? If not, we’re sorry to have to tell you. They’re a ladmag and spending any time on their Facebook page illustrates that immediately. Pretty much all photo content is “boobs in bikinis,” “boobs in lingerie” and “boobs with small dogs” (inexplicably). Which is all well and good–they’re a ladmag and ladmag readers love breasts in their finery–but things get a little problematic when they post images like this:
That “left or right” caption is actually part of a larger game played throughout Zoo‘s Facebook wall, in which the magazine posts side-by-side photos of scantily clad women and then invites Facebook fans to participate by choosing which (–they’d bang, presumably). Here’s a typical example:
But back to the image of a woman split in two. Because it was an unusual game of Left or Right (with a specific prompt), Zoo’s Facebook fans offered some unusual responses. Buzzfeed’s Copyranter got hold of some of the more off-putting comments:
The post–which went up in October–is gone now, but it didn’t come down thanks to complaints from Zoo‘s discerning readership. It came down because Australia’s Advertising Standards Authority deemed it “demeaning:”
“The image, disturbing nature of having a disembodied woman and the offensive, clearly sexist and even abusive nature of some responses on a page being used to advertise this product should not be allowed. Both the pictures, the questions that are posed and the responses are regularly demeaning and unacceptable to women. Women are objectified and sexualised.”
We agree to all that bit about the image and responses being “clearly sexist”–but we’re a little confused as to what’s being advertised. This, predictably, is the nature of Zoo’s defense. Their publisher ACP claims the post is editorial, not advertising.
We obviously don’t need to quibble over the whole thing being pretty gross, but should the ASA have sway over editorial content?