Oftentimes sexism can be so deeply ingrained that marketing teams don’t even pick up on it. At least, that’s a generous explanation for what happened with this Banana Republic ad, which has been attracting negative attention online for its eye-roll inducing portrayal of gender norms.
“The slimming Sloan pant for her,” the brand wrote on Twitter accompanied by a video advertisement of a man and woman riding a bicycle together à la Kim and Kanye in the “Bound 2” music video, “The new Rapid Movement Chino for him. Try our perfect-fitting pants for a life in motion.”
None of these sentences by themselves would have elicited any response at all, but together the juxtaposition is glaring: men need flexible pants for all of their manly movement. Women need skinny pants to look as alluring as possible while pretending to be Kim on a bicycle.
Twitter was quick to point out the glaring sexism prevalent in the ad, intentional or not.
“I apologize that you are unhappy with our recent ad,” the brand wrote in response to one critique, “Please know that your feedback has been forwarded to the marketing team.”
Hopefully the marketing team will recognize the critiques as valid and learn from them, creating more progressive, inclusive content in the future.
Until then, consumers are equally concerned about the safety of these two models attempting to bicycle together.