A TikTok video posted by Match.com that showed a woman doing domestic chores for her partner was sexist, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has ruled.
The clip was titled ‘Things that make him realise I’m a keeper’ and showed ‘a day in the life’ of a couple.
As the man sat with his feet up, the woman served him a protein drink, arranged socks in the bathroom and stood with a TV remote to put on sport for him.
A voice-over said: ‘I will make him his protein drink after the gym. I always make sure he has a fresh towel and socks after his shower. I put the football on for him every evening.
‘Find your keeper via Match. Go download the Match app today.’
Match.com insisted the ad was intended to show small gestures between partners that are important to achieving a successful relationship.
It was part of a series of three videos, with the other two showing a man doing helpful things for a woman and both partners helping out each other.
Defending the video further, the company said they had contacted real couples who had offered examples of thoughtful gestures they did for each other in real life.
But the ASA upheld a complaint from someone who argued the ad was sexist and perpetuated negative gender stereotypes.
Investigators said they had considered that the gestures shown in the ad were stereotypically associated with the female gender, which could reinforce a negative gender stereotype.
‘We further noted that the actions of the woman were one-sided and were not reciprocated by the man in the ad’, a summary said.
‘Whilst we acknowledged that the ad formed part of a wider campaign and that another ad focused on the man’s gestures, we considered that was not evident when viewing the ad and, furthermore, it was not referenced in the ad that the man would reciprocate any of the gestures.
‘Instead, we considered that the man was portrayed as passive whilst the woman performed the domestic chores around him; in particular, we noted that when the woman brought her partner a drink, he was sat down with his feet up on a footrest, which we considered created an impression of an unequal relationship between the couple.’
Match.com did not believe the behaviour in the ad implied the woman did more domestic chores, arguing that the contents did not cause serious or widespread offence.
But the ASA said the ad may have suggested that the woman prioritised her partner’s needs over her own.
The voice-over ‘could have inferred that the gestures were habitual and were undertaken by the woman regularly’.
They said: ‘We considered that the longevity of the gestures implied that they were not one-off acts of kindness but were indistinguishable from chores.
‘We also considered that the voice-over highlighted that the actions were done for the benefit of the man, not the woman.
‘Given that, and in the absence of any reciprocal gestures by the man, we considered that the woman was shown to prioritise her partner’s needs over her own.
‘We also took the ad title “Things that make him realise I’m a keeper” into consideration.
‘We understood that within that context, ‘a keeper’ meant someone with whom you could envisage having a long, successful relationship.
‘We considered that the title, when viewed in the context of the ad, reinforced the idea that women should be subservient to men in order to maintain a successful relationship.’
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