German automobile manufacturer Audi has come under fire in China for a sexist ad campaign featuring a new bride who gets physically examined for defects by her future mother-in-law as though she were a secondhand car.
The 30-second commercial, which was broadcast online and at movie theaters, begins with a wedding. Right before the bride and groom are about to exchange vows, the bride’s mother-in-law storms onto the stage and starts to inspect the bride — pinching her nose, pulling her ear and forcing the bride to open her mouth in a way that evokes a breeders checking a cow. The mother-in-law then makes an “Okay” gesture, before gazing down at at the bride’s breasts. “An important decision must be made carefully,” says a voice-over along with a shot of a red Audi car.
According to Sixth Tone, the ad was first aired in May, but it was not until July 17, when an internet user named Lian Xia 脸侠 posted the video on Weibo, that it began to attract attention. “This ad is so disgusting! It treats women like objects by comparing us to used cars,” the post reads. Many social media users accused Audi of being sexist. “This is extremely disgraceful,” one person wrote (in Chinese). “How could a world-class company like Audi come up with such a sexist commercial?” Infuriated by the ad, some even called for a boycott of the car manufacturer. “I will never buy Audi in my lifetime!” read one comment.
However, some people didn’t regard the commercial as offensive to women and criticized those who reacted with fury of being oversensitive. “The mother-in-law’s behavior is understandable since there are too many women having plastic surgery,” one user stated. Another person even threw insults at those from the opposite camp. “You call this discrimination? Feminist bitches should just go to hell!”
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