Saturday, August 31, 2013

Target upsets Australians by referring to breasts as "bangers"

Via HuffPo

Target Australia probably knew it would get attention when it hired Gok Wan, the very camp host of How to Look Good Naked, as their new spokesperson.

But what ended up causing the most controversy was the man's choice of words when referring playfully to women's breasts:

"Bangers"? That's a new one to me.

According to the Daily Mail, Target defended the choice of words:
"The term 'bangers' is used in wry acceptance that not everyone thinks about their breasts in positive terms. It is an irreverent term of affection."
Interestingly, some of the complaints to Australia's Advertising Standards Board pointed out Gok Wan's sexuality as part of the problem.

From SMH:
"I find it distasteful that he uses the term 'bangers' to describe women's breasts," one wrote to the bureau. "If a straight man were to use similar language during prime-time TV, there would be a huge outcry by women claiming sexist behaviour. There should be no different standards of acceptable language simply because a man appears to be gay." 
Another complained: "Who on earth calls their breasts 'bangers' and why do we have to watch an obvious gay man talking about women in this way? It is insulting."
"It's an offence to any decent person to watch some queer guy advertising and blaspheming and using insulting descriptive words re a woman's body and to be prancing around half dressed guys.

From Huffington Post:
"A female body is a beautiful thing, not to be cheapened by a poofter calling breasts 'BANGERS'!!! I WAS BREAST FED, NOT BANGER FED!"
"Poofter"? Talk about glass houses!

In the Australian Advertising Standards Board report on the complaints, Target defended its choice of spokesperson — and his choice of words — but conceded that his ironic use of British slang may not have played as intended in Australia.
“Bangers” is more commonly used in the UK than in Australia, where “boobs’ is probably more familiar. Because the term “bangers” is less familiar in Australia, this lack of  familiarity in Australia will be taken into account and the term “boobs” may be substituted in some advertising.
(At least they didn't substitute "norks"...)

In the end, the ASB dismissed the complaints:
The Board considered the term "bangers‟ and recognised that some members of the community may be offended by the reference to women‟s breasts as bangers. The Board considered that the word is not commonly used in Australia in this manner but that in this instance it is not used in a derogatory way and that the use of the term bangers is one that is used by Gok as part of his programs and persona. 
The Board considered that the term "bangers‟ is not inappropriate and not strong or obscene language in this context.
What do you think of the campaign? Personally, I'm more offended by the homophobic tone of some of the complaints than by the "bangers" comment. But then again, I don't have any.


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