Serpent's Egg

The Eroticism of Fat Men

Paris public transport apologises for ‘sexist’ publicity campaign

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A still from the video released by Paris public transport CREDIT: RAPT

Paris‘ public transport body has been forced to apologise following angry claims a new publicity campaign featuring “hostesses” in figure-hugging outfits blowing kisses behind male “pilots” was blatantly sexist.

RATP, the Paris public transport body,  launched a film this week on social media featuring a dozen of so actresses wearing tight skirts, silk scarves and shapely tops, along with air hostess-style hats.

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French viewers took offence at ‘tongue-in-cheek’ film on safety in public transport they say is sexist CREDIT: RATP YOUTUBE

Two men in hats and blazers who look very much like airline pilots, appear to be giving orders to bemused passengers. They drag small suitcases on wheels behind them.

The film’s self-professed aim is to raise awareness in a tongue-in-cheek manner about dangerous behaviour in the metro, suburban trains and on buses.

Under the hashtag  “AIRATP”, the accompanying text apes an airline announcement for a steward safety presentation.

“Safety demonstrations in the RER (suburban line) are presented to you by our hostesses. Please pay them a few moments of your attention. Thank you,” it wrote, with a smiley.

However, many French took offence at what they saw as unacceptable sexism dressed up as humour, with one slamming the clip as depicting “caricatures reduced to their bodies and airhead smiles” –  a “flock” of women behind male leaders.

Giampetro Morisi, one commentator, wrote: “How saddening to see the sexism of this campaign.”

The women, he went on, are “directed by the men as they were orchestral conductors – when I look at the way these guys carry on I can’t believe it”.

Claire Carrara wrote: “Can we have the same again but less sexist. Thank you.” She added a hashtag saying “1950s”.

Others regretted the lack of diversity among the actors and that real public transport staff were not asked to take part.

“In 2016 is it normal that all the pilots are men and hostesses women and that they are all white?” asked Rachel Farge.

Stung by such accusations, the RATP responded that it was “really sorry that video seems sexist” to some viewers.

It added that the men taking part were not pilots but stewards given jackets to make them “more recogniseable”.

“Stewards were present during the event and they mimed the (safety) measures like their (female) colleagues. We grant you that this can’t be seen in this video. Without this uniform it didn’t work.”

In another, separate clip on its Facebook page, one female “hostess” plays all the parts, including those of male passengers, ending with the message: “A serious accident every day due to a lack of attention.”

But their apologies were not sufficient for many.

Hélène Briols wrote: “By using women’s bodies to attract attention you are sending a strong and very negative message about harassement in the street, namely: “Ladies, your bodies serve to attract our attention!”

Anger over the clip comes just months after the governmentlaunched a national action plan to tackle sexual harassment on public transport after a survey suggested all female passengers had suffered some kind of sexual or sexist treatment.

As well as creating a text message alert system, Pascale Boistard, women’s rights minister, also vowed to remove any advertising deemed sexist or liable to create a hostile environment for women in public transport.

“Public transport spaces mustn’t be dedicated to feeding sexist harassment through degrading images of women,” she said.

 

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2016 by and tagged , , .

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