'Sexist grooming': KFC forced to apologise over cleavage ad

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
KFC's advertisement shows a young woman being ogled by a pair of schoolboys. Photo: KFC

KFC has come under fire over an advertisement showing young boys ogling a woman’s cleavage that an activist group has labelled ‘sexist’ and harmful.

The advertisement has been screening over the summer and shows a young woman in festival gear adjusting her cleavage in what she thinks is an empty car’s reflective window.

The window rolls down to reveal a disgusted woman and two sons with dumbstruck, happy looks on their faces.

“Did someone say KFC?” the busty intruder says as a distraction.

Both the woman’s breasts being used as a punchline, and the school-aged boys’ reactions have landed the ad in the firing line of grassroots organisation Collective Shout.

‘Sexist grooming of boys’

Critics say the ad reinforces harmful 'boys will be boys' stereotypes. Photo: KFC

The group aims to call out the ‘objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in media, advertising and popular culture’.

In this case, they have labelled the ad ‘sexist grooming of boys’, arguing the contents reinforce a ‘boys will be boys’ mentality.

“Ads like this reinforce the false idea that we can't expect better from boys,” spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski said of the ad.

“The ad is a play on tired old stereotypes, where young women are sexually objectified for the benefit of men - even young boys - and the males are helplessly transfixed when confronted with the opportunity to ogle a woman's body.”

Ms Liszewski even argued the ad undoes efforts made by the government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

The group’s argument is that attitudes have been proven to shape behaviour.

They argue reinforcing that women’s bodies are objects, as they argue this advertisement does, feeds the idea that their bodies are disposable.

The Institute of Health and Welfare’s domestic violence statistics show that in Australia one woman is killed every nine days by a partner, while one male is killed every 29 days by a partner.

One in six women have experienced sexual or physical violence at the hands of a live-in partner.

The public reacts

The ad ran as part of KFC's Big Bash sponsorship. Photo: Getty Images

The advertisement got plenty of eyeballs as part of KFC’s sponsorship of the Cricket Big Bash League.

Fans of the fast-food chain were divided online, some arguing the ad was a simple joke others saying it went too far.

“Over the line!!” one woman wrote.

“Not funny...bloody hilarious!” another responded.

KFC apologised for the ad.

“We apologise if anyone was offended by our latest commercial,” a spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light.”

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