Friday, 27 March 2015

Something’s Wrong with this Picture…

I commute to work every day, and I’ve noticed a bunch of interesting advertisements placed in the bus stand media window. First, it was for the old computer game known as “The Sims”, where you build a little life and a house for your virtual character. It was super fun, but even more fun when you figured out the cheat code to make yourself more money and build a bigger house! It was cool to see this company trying to make a comeback for the game. But then, I saw the below ad:

(Photo by Christine Drpich - Waterloo)

Please excuse the sideways and poorly taken photo, however, I think the point is still captured. There are definitely professional athletic Australian women on TV and featured on sports channels! At first glance, I thought the ad and promotion was only featuring men's sports, which would be even worse. But after reading the small print at the bottom, I’ve come to realise it’s actually for multiple sports channels, which go unlisted, but I’m still assuming they highlight women’s sports as well. So why aren’t women featured on the ad?

Your first thought might be, well women’s sports may not have as many followers, and therefore not evoke the kind of revenue that allows them to be televised or afford that publicity. But if they aren’t on TV, then they’ll definitely never be able to achieve a widespread following like the men’s sports. It’s kind of like the question, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do you need to be publicised to create the following, or do you need the following to earn you the publicity? Regardless, women work just as hard as men, and often at the same exact sports that the men play. Why aren’t they featured here?

Another thought may be, well, there aren’t as many professional women’s teams, or there aren’t as many games played to be televised. Again, another faulty logic. If that’s the case, all of the teams, individuals, games, matches, etc. that there are, should be extremely well highlighted. Out of all the countries in the world, Australia is one of the most progressive in gender equality, so the least they could have done was highlight some of their female professional athletes who are just as lean and mean as the male rugby players here. I tried to reason through the ad with my little knowledge of Australian sports, and wondered if maybe every male featured on this ad was truly from a different sport. I counted: NRL rugby team member, Union rugby team member, Formula One racer, two soccer players, an AFL footy team member, and then another two rugby duplicates. Those spots easily could have been given to women in those respective sports. Or even women in different fields such as tennis. Australia has incredible tennis players, and tennis is probably featured on at least one out of the billion sports channels you get in this Foxtel package.

It’s kind of sad to see yet another ad missing the women’s perspective. I wonder if this ad was created by a male? To be honest, I didn’t really look for or even acknowledge these small inequalities in ads or publicity, until I attended the International Women’s Day Breakfast as a guest of the Business School about two weeks ago. I was typically of the belief that acknowledging these little inequalities was petty, and only further perpetuated the inequality and the thought there of. However, I would like to see Foxtel redo the ad and incorporate some of Australia’s professional athletic women. They work just as hard, compete just as much, and love their sport and their fans, just as much.

Christine Drpich
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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