Distracted boyfriend meme 'objectifies women'

By Bethan Staton, news reporter
For a brief period earlier this year, the "distracted boyfriend" meme - using a stock image of a man angering his partner by ogling another girl - was inescapable.
But its broad appeal does not appear to extend to Swedish regulators.
After it emerged, social media posters used the meme to communicate an array of examples of redirected affections, unfortunate distractions or switched loyalties, simply by transposing text onto the three characters in the same photo.Now, Sweden's advertising authority has ruled that a recruitment advertisement based on the meme - for internet company Bahnhof - is sexist.
Following the standard format of distracted boyfriend, the advert features a man labelled "you" turning over his shoulder to gaze lecherously at a woman labelled "Bahnhof", while his girlfriend - tagged "your current workplace" - looks on angrily.The point of the meme, Bahnhof said, was to communicate that the firm might be of interest to people with a "slightly less good" employer.But advertising standards watchdog Reklamombudsmannen said it portrayed an image of women as interchangeable, suggesting that they were "mere sex objects", in violation of the country's advertising guidelines.In a published ruling, the authority said the post "imparts a stereotypical picture of men looking at women as being interchangeable in the same way as a change of workplace, which is undervaluing".
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