Brazil’s official women’s rights secretariat has taken exception to a national TV campaign featuring home grown supermodel Gisele Bundchen promoting the Hope lingerie brand.
The complaint that the ads are “offensive and sexist” has attracted attention in varying degrees of seriousness around the world, because Brazil is almost synonymous with naked flesh in popular myth if not reality.
Although Dilma Rousseff became Brazil's first woman president last year, the country's feminists consider the ads "no laughing matter."
In what is intended to be light hearted advice Gisele - and once removed women viewers - is recommended how best to break the bad news to her husband/boyfriend that she has crashed his car again; overspent on both their credit cards; and her mother is moving in with them.
All that is required is a playful confession stripped down to a pair of Hope bra and knickers and all will be forgiven.
This isn’t a million miles away from the “erotic capital” Catherine Hakim has suggested women exploit in making the most of their assets including the physical.
If treated as seriously as some feminists have done the sentiment behind the ads is more offensive to men than women. The implication is that men do all their thinking below the waist rather than above the neck.
I’d like to see a TV sketch take the Hope ads into the absurd. “Honey, I lost the kids, again”; “Honey, you’re broke; “Honey, I shot your mother”. Gisele wouldn’t assuage her partner’s displeasure even if she lost the rest of her clothes and lay naked on a bed of Viagra.
I imagine that Brazilians get the joke - it takes rather more than two wisps of material to make a woman look like a supermodel. What the ads are really promoting is marital nookie. Feminists are still in favour of that, aren't they?