By Issue (All):
Portrayals of Women and Men ...more
Taste & Decency ...more
Channel Four Television Corporation
Date: 30th April 2003
Agency: Foundation 33
Public Complaint From: Nationwide (x25)
Objections to three posters for a television programme entitled
Boys & Girls:
a. The first claimed "BOYS! BEFORE A DATE YOU CAN ONLY CLEAN
ONE BODY PART... A. YOUR TEETH? B. YOUR GENITALS?"; and
b. the second claimed "GIRLS! WHAT MATTERS MORE IN THE TROUSER
DEPARTMENT? A. LENGTH? B. GIRTH?" and
c. the third claimed "BOYS! WHAT'S WORSE... A. FINDING YOUR
MUM NAKED? B. YOUR MUM FINDING YOU NAKED?"
The complainants objected that:
1. poster (a) was offensive and degrading to boys, particularly
because it appeared opposite two girls' secondary schools;
2. poster (b) was offensive and degrading to men and unsuitable
to be seen by children, and
3. poster (c) was offensive.
Codes Section: 5.1, 47.2 (Ed 10)
The advertisers said the poster campaign had been designed to reflect
the youthful and irreverent personality of the show and was intended
to be light-hearted and humorous. They said that, to promote the
programme faithfully, they had chosen questions that the contestants
might be asked on the show and had focused those questions on both
genders, using a balanced number of 'Boys' and 'Girls' versions
of the posters to avoid bias or sexual discrimination. They said
they had not intended to cause offence and the posters had now been
1. Complaints not upheld
The advertisers thought the language was unlikely to cause physical,
mental or moral harm to children. They pointed out that the use
of the word 'Genitals' was anatomically correct and had been used
in preference to slang words. They regretted that the posters had
appeared opposite two secondary girls' schools but advised that
they had removed one poster from opposite a girls' school when the
campaign was still running.
2. Complaints not upheld
The advertisers said the use of the phrase "Trouser department"
was intended to be coy and inoffensive and numerous other euphemisms
could have been used instead.
3. Complaints not upheld
The advertisers believed the question on the poster was innocuous
and unlikely to genuinely shock.
The Authority noted each of the posters posed a question that was
likely to be asked on the programme and that the advertisers had
carefully chosen the words in posters (a) and (b). Although it considered
that posters (a) and (b) might cause some embarrassment, the Authority
considered that they were not degrading to boys or men. The Authority
concluded that the posters would generally be seen as humorous,
were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and were not
unsuitable to be seen by children.