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Saturday, 20 April 2019 06:06 pm

Electoral Commission doesn’t think its leg shaving ad is sexist

The Electoral Commission sees no issue with an advert which has sparked claims of sexism by a Canterbury student.

The advert, published in The University of Canterbury’s student magazine Canta depicts two legs in a bathtub with a tick box for two options: to shave legs or wear jeans.

Hannah Etherington, Fine Arts student and first time voter has written to the commission, saying that the advert alienates people who don’t conform to societies expectations of gender.

She says her first thought was “how did this get in here?” when she saw the advert.

“The whole idea and all the things around body hair and shaving body hair is quite a big issue in our society.”

Hannah says placing the advert in a progressive magazine like Canta is also an issue.

“How can progressive, open-minded youth, how can they put this in the magazine?”

Anastasia Turnbull, Communications Manager at the Electoral Commission says the campaign aims covers a wide range of choices.

“Not every single execution is going to resonate with every member of the audience that we’re aiming for.

“They’re the kind of decisions people do make.”

She says they are not suggesting people should shave or wear jeans, but that some people do make that choice every day.

When asked about Canta’s dealings with the Electoral Commission’s advertising agency, editor Joshua Brosnahan declined to comment in detail.

“I can’t really comment on that.

“I can comment and say that I did think that the ads were potentially problematic.”

However, in a follow up email, the editor added that Canta is working hard to be inclusive and they rely on feedback from their audience if they miss the mark.

Read more about the campaign and its intentions here on Campaign Brief.

Update: Hannah Etherington told NewsWire this morning (September 19) that she received an email response to her letter from Turnbull stating she could how the advert could be seen as more gendered than intended. “Next time, we’ll be more careful about perpetuating steretypes,” Turnbull said.

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