Top or Bottom
“Top or Bottom” is a regular feature on the Australian men’s magazine Zoo Weekly that asks visitors to choose between two pictures of girls. On their Facebook page they took that theme and expanded on it, so to speak. They posted a picture of girl split in half and asked Facebook users to tell them which end they’d choose and why.

The was post was removed but not by Facebook, which recently had to apologized for mistakenly censoring naked elbows they thought were a woman’s breasts. The real reason the disembodied woman got the axe was because of a complaint filed with Australia’s Advertising Standards Board (ASB). It ruled that the Facebook page is an advertisement for the actual website and as such was in violation of the Advertiser Code of Ethics.

In response the magazine’s publisher, ACP, said:

To describe Zoo’s Facebook page as a ‘marketing communication’ is to misunderstand the nature of modern media organisations and the way in which they use social media to engage with their audience. Zoo’s Facebook page, like its website and the associated magazine, is a publishing platform comprising of editorial content supported by some advertising content. The content complained of was clearly editorial content and its publication on a Facebook page does not alter that characterisation.

ASB looked at Section 2 of the Code:

Section 2.1 of the Code states: “Advertising or Marketing Communications shall not portray people or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of…gender…”

Section 2.2 of the Code states: “Advertising or marketing communications should not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative and degrading of any individual or group of people.”

Section 2.4 of the Code states: “Advertising or Marketing Communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience”.

Section 2.5 of the Code states: “Advertising or Marketing Communications shall only use language which is appropriate in the circumstances and strong or obscene language shall be avoided.”

ACP was found to be in breach of all but Section 2.4. Although the scantily clad woman was “not inappropriate for a magazine aimed at young men,” the literal objectifying of women as body parts was deemed to be discriminatory. Furthermore, they held the company responsible for encouraging obscene comments from Facebook users.

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