Windhoek Ad Gets Banned Due To Its Toxic Masculinity Nature

South Africa’s Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has banned an advertisement for Windhoek beer on the basis that it entrenches toxic masculinity in suggesting that “real men drink real beer”.

The ad features Gerard Butler, described in the regulator’s decision as “a macho looking movie star”, remonstrating with a bar patron who asks for a slice of lime with his Windhoek. The man he takes to task, says the ARB, “is a gentle looking, red-headed man – two characteristics that might typically make him a target for teasing in a toxic environment”.

The interaction between the two, the regulator ruled, sends an unavoidable message that is not acceptable in advertising, especially because it does not actually come out and say that real men drink real beer.

“The reality is that it is exactly the unspoken nature of the communication that makes it particularly dangerous – the gender stereotype portrayed as so normal that it does not even require explanation,” said the ARB.

It took issue with both “the entrenchment of the role of men as having to behave in a certain way” and “the entrenchment of male behaviour that is bullying, and what has come to be labelled as ‘toxic masculinity’.”

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