THE WORD GIRL
In 1985, post-modern beat combo Scritti Politti released a single called The Word Girl, but it is unlikely to be on any of the iPod Shuffles belonging to the staff of PeoplePerHour, a web-based business used by freelance workers looking for companies to employ them. Last year, they ran an ad on London’s underground – that railway system being the extra circle of hell Dante excluded from the Inferno as being too gruelling for his readers – which featured the memorable phrase; ‘You do the girl boss thing, we’ll do the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) thing’. Cue pandemonium.
We here in the Brit. Intel. command module believe that the best thing about clownworld is that it is a gift which keeps on giving, and the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did not disappoint. The word ‘girl’, they ruled, was demeaning to women. Stumped by this, we at BI asked the only chick in the office why this should be demeaning. It bears pointing out that that Clara the coffee popsy was until last Tuesday actually Colin, who is 6’ 4” and once played in the second row for the Harlequins B rugby union team, but he self-identifies as a woman, and so his, sorry, her opinion is more valid than that of the rest of us, who are part of the patriarchy. She said she couldn’t honestly see what all the fuss was about.
The ASA was responding to a tsunami of complaints – that would be 19, as in 19 – about the advertisement. This ruling, of course, makes it impossible in the future for companies to be taken down by rival companies who register a dozen or so complaints against their competition. But what do we know? Bints, birds and beazels do have to live in a hideously sexist world, and we respect gals, chickadees and floozies, and feel their pain, bless ‘em.
The ASA patiently laid out their ruling;
‘Although the guidance did not prohibit ads from featuring only one gender (Phewks! That’s alright then), we considered that because the ad strongly implied only men could excel in the specialisms and roles depicted we presented gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm (our rather fetching italics) and therefore breached the code’.
Kitties, dames and broads everywhere will sleep tighter under their pink bedspreads because of this ruling, which keeps their adorable little selves out of harm’s way, we are certain of that. Maurice Chevalier sang Thank heaven for little girls. We say thank heaven for the ASA.