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The 'Distracted Boyfriend' Meme Has Been Ruled Sexist By Swedish Advertising Watchdog


If we continue at the pace we're on, eventually all our communications will be replaced entirely by memes, and scientists will one day look back at languages as if they were primitive cuneiform.

But according to a Swedish advertising organization, there's one meme that will need to be stricken from our lexicon.

"Distracted boyfriend," that most versatile meme we have for describing the jealousy and betrayal inherent to every day decisions, has been deemed sexist by Reklamombudsmannen, Sweden's advertising watchdog.

Internet company Bahnhof recently used the meme in a social media ad seeking new talent for open positions.

The captions in the meme read, "you", "your current employer" and "Bahnhof."

Complaints flowed in, forcing Reklamombudsmannen to issue a statement, in which it found the post discriminatory.

"The board finds that the woman in red [...] is presented as a sex object," the Reklamombudsmannen wrote, going on to specify that the two women are objectified as "representatives of workplaces while the man [...] is presented as an individual."

But the ombudsman didn't stop there: the group found the post discriminatory against men as well, because the man in the visual is depicted as someone who "views women as if they are interchangeable in the manner of workplaces," which the statement called, "degrading."

Bahnhof responded via its Facebook page, saying that gender is "most often irrelevant" in the context of the "Distracted Boyfriend" meme's use and interpretation, and specified that they only meant it to portray Bahnhof as an attractive place to work. They also claimed that anyone familiar with the internet and meme culture would recognize that this is how the meme was "used and understood."

Naturally, on social media discussion of this story kicked of with, you guessed it: "Distracted Boyfriend" memes!

And there were plenty of people who agreed with Reklamombudsmannen:

But many others seemed to feel the ombudsman's ruling was taking things a bit too far:

Sexist or not, it doesn't seem like the "Distracted Boyfriend" is going anywhere any time soon.

H/T Mashable, The Guardian

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