Source: All Africa
Mozambican women's and human rights organisations on Tuesday denounced a sexist advertising campaign launched by the brewing company Cervejas de Mocambique (CDM - Beers of Mozambique), and demanded that the offending adverts be removed.
The adverts launch a new bottle for the company's dark beer, "Laurentina Preta", and depict the image of the body of a woman, apparently dancing, but without head, arms or legs. The Laurentina Preta trademark is printed over the pubic region of the headless woman.
Addressing a Maputo press conference, Graca Samo, the Executive Secretary of the Women's Forum, an umbrella grouping of feminist organisations, said the advert was an insult to Mozambican women.
The wording on the advert is "This Preta has gone from good to better. Now it has a sexier bottle". This is a pun on the Portuguese word "preta", which means black. When ordering drinks at a bar, the word is shorthand for a bottle of Laurentina Preta - but "uma preta" is also slang for "a black woman", often with sexual overtones.
For the Women's Forum, this meant that the advert was not only sexist, but also racist.
Samo said that in the CDM advert, women have no faces, and no heads, and are just sexual objects. She noted that CDM is one of the companies that has been awarded the prestigious "Made in Mozambique" seal, "but it has become a national international disgrace".
An international disgrace, precisely because this advert has been launched to coincide with the All-Africa Games, which have attracted sportspeople and tourists from across Africa.
"Is this all that we have to sell to the visitors who have come for the games?", asked Samo. "Does our beer only taste good if it is associated with sexism?"
"Why must the capitalists of our country, in order to sell their products, include on the packaging the body of a woman as a commercial object, with no identity of her own (for something without a face, head or legs surely has no identity)?", asked Samo. "Why so much sexism? Haven't we thought of the damage we are causing to our children and adolescents, shocked at the Laurentina images on their way to school?'
The Women's Forum regarded the adverts as a form of violence against women, and indeed against all of Mozambican society, and demanded their immediate removal from all public spaces.
The CDM commercial director, Pedro Cruz, said the company had introduced onto the market a better quality Larentina Preta, and with a bottle that is easy to hold.
"Our intention wasn't to hurt anybody's feelings", said Cruz. "We shall analyse the question, and if we consider that the reaction is negative, we shall withdraw the adverts"
He said that the advert had been tested in advance and had been found acceptable by those consumers consulted. The campaign was "a marketing event introducing the new bottle which deserves to be publicized. We say the bottle is sexier, because it is modern, more curvy, and easy to grab hold of".
During the test, nobody had complained that the advert was sexist, he claimed.