SAFRA poster criticised for being sexist and distasteful

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A promotional poster by SAFRA – or SAFRA National Service Association – has come under criticism for being sexist and distasteful towards women.

The poster, which was spotted at a bus stop in Upper Thomson, has two men apparently exercising in a gym, with a woman in the foreground. The two men are depicted being distracted by the woman.

The caption in the poster says:

“A great workout, good friends and some healthy distractions.”

“There will never be a dull moment here. Get more out of life with our membership.”

Ms Cindy Ng, who spotted the poster, had taken a photo of it and posted it on the SAFRA Facebook page.

She wrote:

“I saw this ad at a bus stop along Upper Thomson. Come on SAFRA. Is this the best marketing strategy you can use to increase your gym membership? This is outright distasteful, completely disrespectful to women and borders on condoning sexual harassment!”

Several others also expressed dismay at the poster.

Ms Serene Lew said: “Oh boy! Some explaining needs to be done for the approval of such an ad.”

On The Online Citizen (TOC) Facebook page, members of the public also found the ad distasteful.

“Sexist,” said Missy Yan. “Men designed it, no doubt.”

M Suhaimi Ismail described it as “prejudice at its worst.”

To Ms Ng, she found the poster to border on condoning sexual harassment.

“Checking a girl out at a gym is not a ‘healthy distraction’,” she told TOC. “It can amount to sexual harassment.”

She added, “The ad also minimizes the fear and insecurities some women experience when they are visually harassed by men. This is really unbecoming from a very established organization like SAFRA.”

She also expressed concerns that younger people, especially children, who waits at the bus stop would have also seen the poster.

SAFRA has yet to respond to her posting on its Facebook page.

This is the poster in question:

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UPDATE: 9 March 2014, with SAFRA’s response.

In response to Ms Ng’s complaint about an advertisement poster for its club membership, SAFRA has replied and said it was apparently part of a series of ads to “showcase some bonding moments among our NSmen.”

It also said these ads were “tongue-in-cheek.”

“Be it in the gym or anywhere else,” SAFRA said in its response posted on its Facebook page, “it is not uncommon for some women to be checked out by men or vice versa.”

“The ad is not aimed to devalue women and neither does SAFRA condone it. We certainly believe in equality of the both sexes,” it added.

Below is a screenshot of the club’s response. You can view the Facebook thread here: SAFRA ADVERT.

SAFRA response