A recent ad from clothing company Gap has been criticized for promoting gender stereotypes.
The ad depicts a boy, wearing a shirt with Albert Einstein, as “the little scholar” whose “future starts now.” The girl in the ad however is wearing a pink and white sweater while being portrayed as “the social butterfly” who will be the “talk of the playground.” The campaign seems to be reinforcing the stereotype of boys in STEM and girls just being talkative and social gossipers. Further criticism was made due to the misspelling of “Einstein” as “Einstien”.
Many have turned to social media to voice their opinions on Gap’s marketing. Let Toys Be Toys, a campaign promoting gender equality by discouraging manufacturers from specifying toys for a certain gender, tweeted “For anyone who thinks that sexist marketing to children isn’t a problem… Really @UKGap ?”
Tessa Trabue, a member of Let Toys Be Toys, said in an interview with Newsweek, “There is a lack of girls going into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, and marketing like this certainly doesn’t help combat this. Do we really want girls to be labelled as no more than social butterflies gossiping in the playground from such a young age?”
Gap has apologized for this controversial campaign after getting backlash from public. “Gap brand has always stood for individuality, optimism and creativity. Our intentions have always been to celebrate every child and we did not intend to offend anyone, said Liz Nunan, a Gap spokesperson, in a statement to Fortune.
Sexism has even been prevalent in the ongoing Summer Olympics. When Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu won gold in the 400 meter event, NBC credited her husband and coach Tusup for her success. There is also too much attention on female athletes’ bodies and attire, rather than their success and performance. Not only have there been numerous polls focusing on the bodies of female volleyball players, but also female swimmers have been constantly criticized for being too muscular and Alex Moreno, a gymnast from Mexico, has even been called a pig and shamed for not going on a diet.