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Brazilian Government Calls For Ban Of New Gisele Bundchen Ad

Jessica Winterbauer |
October 1, 2011 | 1:42 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


The Brazilian government is calling for a ban of  “offensive and sexist” lingerie advertisements starring Gisele Bundchen.

Gisele Bundchen (Creative Commons)
Gisele Bundchen (Creative Commons)

In the ads, Gisele appears in a plain white dress as she breaks the news to her husband that she has maxed out their credit cards, crashed their car, and invited her mother to visit.  The scene freezes and a red box appears.  It’s marked with an “x” and the word “errado,” meaning “wrong.”  Then, the scene is repeated but this time Bundchen is wearing close-to-nothing, donning skimpy red lingerie.  When the box appears it’s marked with a check and the world “certo”, meaning correct.  A voiceover delivers the final message, “You’re a Brazilian woman-use your charm.”

The ad debuted just last week, on September 20, and already officials report six viewer complaints.  What’s more, the Brazilian government is less than pleased.

The Guardian reports a statement made by Brazil’s Secretariat for Women’s Politics, “The campaign promotes the misguided stereotype of a woman as a sexual object of her husband and ignores the major advances we have achieved in deconstructing sexist practices and thinking.” 

Last October Brazil elected its first-ever female president, Dilma Rousseff, but it still struggles with widespread domestic violence that often goes unreported.  In fact, it wasn’t until 1991 that the Brazilian Supreme Court outlawed something called the “legitimate defense of honor.”  Until then, a man who murdered his adulterous wife could win acquittal on the grounds of defending his honor, reports The New York Times. 

It’s easy to see why the Brazilian government can’t just “laugh it off,” but the lingerie company’s director, Sandra Chayo, claims that the campaign was intended to be humorous.  She insists that the ads were not meant to be read as sexist, and defends her stance in her choice to use Bundchen.  Forbes Magazine reports Chayo’s statement, 

“We chose Gisele, one of Brazil’s most internationally successful personalities, to represent our brand precisely to avoid being disqualified under the bias of financially dependent or subservient women.”

Bundchen is on Forbes Power Women list.  Her estimated networth is $150 million and many predict she will become the world’s first billionaire supermodel.  If this happens, Bundchen will also become Brazil’s first female self-made billionaire.

Reach staff reporter Jessica Winterbauer here.

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