How Female Founders Are Fighting The Gender Bias In Advertising And The Media
When it comes to the female body, there seems to be confusion when defining what constitutes sexual health as opposed to pleasure. This differentiation is the argument behind several cases of advertising censorship in the sextech industry. Last week has seen new cases of gender bias when determining what it’s appropriate to promote in New York City’s public transportation. Dame Products, a female sexual health and pleasure device company has seen their ad campaign rejected by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), even after closely working with the agency that revises advertising proposals for the MTA, Outfront, on producing a “tasteful” campaign that would abide by the authority’s standards
Last summer, Unbound started a quest to address the gender bias of MTA’s advertising policy, which deemed inappropriate the art that CEO and Cofounder, Polly Rodriguez, had commissioned from several up and coming artists. After weeks of conversations and negative press about the issue, the authority expressed their intention to find a better way to work with female-founded companies focusing on female or non-binary sexual health. This would open the door for them to advertise in NYC’s subway and reach the more than 5 million riders that take New York’s favorite form of transportation on any given week.
The team at Dame started working with Outfront to create “tasteful” imagery that adheres to the guidelines. After 7 months of work and adaptation to the agency’s requirements, New York's MTA, who once approved wellness ad by female-focused sex toy company Dame Products, has now rejected the ads claiming "updated guidelines” preventing “sexually oriented” businesses from advertising.
Pleasure And Sexual Health Are Closely Related
If you hop off a train in many New York City subway stations, you will be prompted with advertising posters of medication for erectile dysfunction and enhanced libido from companies like Roman or Hims, some of which include images of phallic objects. The irony of the situation is that advertisers, as well as social media platforms, seem to be having a hard time (pun intended) establishing what products and images are obscene and exclusively sexually oriented, and which ones fall into the category of health.
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