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Overt: Billabong caught being sexist!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Surfwear giant gets nailed!

Yesterday, I was sent the story F*ck You Billabong. No Seriously F*ck You. multiple times. It appeared on a web aggregator called Medium and written by Karen Knowlton, who was enraged by the surfwear manufacturer’s overt sexism on its website’s landing page.

Ms. Knowlton wrote:

Forgive me my outrage, but this sh*t really burns me up. How is this the best you can do? How is this the first impression you choose to deliver to visitors of your site? Are you even aware of what you are doing?

I sincerely hope not, so let me break it down for you:

Man as subject, shredding waves. Woman as object, back arched and head dropped back for ultimate titillating effect on the viewer. This doesn’t even pretend to be an image of a woman having fun on the beach, actually enjoying her beautiful body in the perfect swimsuit. It’s just straight objectification.

You are ostensibly an athletic apparel company, yes? And you presumably have a fleet of badass female surfers you could photograph and display actually surfing? Or even just frolicking on the beach in their perfect bodies and pretending to have fun? You know, images of women as actual people who have experiences in their bodies, rather than the female body as simply an object to be viewed and consumed by others.

You could even pick out just the right action shots to make sure you don’t lose the sex appeal. You know, wet hair sexy and tousled, models looking extra focused and a bit pouty, perfect bums on display as they wait for a wave. But at least get one of these girls on an actual surfboard, would you please?

Of course she is right in every way.

And Billabong appears to have gotten the message, though the company didn’t respond by releasing a statement or apologizing. That would not be the Billabong Way™. Adjusting but pretending like nothing happened is the Billabong Way™ and today its website’s landing page looks like this.

Which, in turn, enraged me.

Now we have a beautiful surfer girl being pouty and cruisey but I can also see her entire bikini. The damned man? Like, I can’t even see any boardshort at all because his giant throw away air is in the way. Would it have been so hard to objectify him for once?

Would it?

I give you the the following images as an example of what I’m talking about Billabong.

Obviously don’t apologize when you swap something similar in tomorrow on the man’s side. Life is Better When You Bury Your Head in the Sand™.