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26 May, 2024
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Video pulled after critics said it was sexist

Cypriot foreign ministry’s gender advisor says tourism cleaning campaign video objectifies women


Tourism officials in the Republic of Cyprus have pulled a video from their playlist on social media, after critics said the clip as part of a campaign to keep the country clean was “sexist” and failed to get the message across.

According to local media, Cypriot tourism officials last week uploaded two videos on social media including YouTube as part of a campaign to keep Cyprus clean.

But one of the videos was pulled or made private through fast track procedures after people on social media said the video was promoting sexist stereotypes.

Josie Christodoulou, an unpaid gender advisor for the foreign ministry, appeared on a television program this week, speaking against the video.

'If we set the original idea aside, the cleaning campaign, to me the product appears to be a woman, we are sexualizing a woman and promoting sexism and stereotypes'

“This doesn’t represent me, it’s not something I want tourists to see,” Christodoulou said.

The advisor, who consults the minister on gender equality and women’s issues, went on to say that the video was accompanied with text, reading it verbatim that “awareness for the environment defines the quality of our product, as it shows the culture and values of a people.”

“What exactly is the product in this video,” Christodoulou asked.

“If we set the original idea aside, the cleaning campaign, to me the product appears to be a woman, we are sexualizing a woman and promoting sexism and stereotypes,” the advisor said.

The video takes place at the beach, where a young woman in a bathing suit comes out of the water as a plastic cup on her beach towel is blown away by the wind.

As the woman hurries to get the cup, moving towards an elderly couple walking on the beach, the man shows interest and puts on his hat while the woman next to him remains unamused.

After the young woman picks up the trash and throws it away, a visibly disappointed man takes off the hat, with the woman, possibly his partner or wife, laughing at him as the couple embrace each other and walk away. 

Christodoulou said she saw a woman emerging out of the water in the style of a James Bond movie, approaching an eldery man who is frozen not knowing how to react, and an elderly woman getting jealous.

The advisor, who has previously worked on other matters including sex trafficking and violence against women, went on to say that the video ad could be subject to sanctions regarding sexism law violations but expressed the hope that the creators were not trying to stir up controversy.

“But if this was done on purpose, then the issue is a much bigger,” she said, adding that such issues including a controversial urinal a few years ago go against efforts to promote gender equality and laws against sexism.

Christodoulou was referring to a controversial portable urinal for men, in the shape of a naked woman in an explicit sexual position, which sparked debate in parliament in 2018, just two months after public criticism.

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