Target in Hot Water For Calling Women's Breasts 'Bangers' And 'Assets'
English fashion consultant, author and television presenter Gok Wan recently signed 12 month a deal to appear in Target advertising in Australia. Wan happens to be gay and likes to refer to women's breasts as "bangers," a term he uses frequently on his UK show How to Look Good Naked. Additionally, he is being taken to task for referring to breasts as "assets."
Predictably, the Australian public...OK, a very vocal minority...hasn't taken kindly to Target's selection of Wan as spokesperson for the retailer and are particularly miffed over his use of the term "bangers" in a recent Target commercial. The Advertising Standards Bureau has received several complaints about the ad.
One complaint sent to the Authority reads,"I find it distasteful that he uses the term 'bangers' to describe women's breasts. If a straight man were to use similar language during prime-time TV, there would be a huge outcry by women claiming sexist behavior. There should be no different standards of acceptable language simply because a man appears to be gay."
Another commenter was a bit more "vocal" writing, "A female body is a beautiful thing, not to be cheapened by a poofter calling breasts "BANGERS"!!!," a third wrote. "I WAS BREAST FED, NOT BANGER FED! It's an insult to sooooo many Aussie men and woman to see poofs on tv but you let it happen. I haven't even started stirring up the national [Country Women's Association] clubs yet so look out!"
For its part, Target is standing by their man and has issued a statement."Target strongly believes that a person's sexuality is irrelevant to their worth as a person. Target makes no apology for using a gay man in its advertising and we do not believe that this should be grounds for upholding a complaint."
Regarding the use of the term "bangers," Target insists they did not intend to be derogatory, rather the use of the term is meant as an "irreverent term of affection."
Despite complaints, the Advertising Standards Bureau cleared the ad, in which Wan says "your bangers will never feel more loved," for distribution indicating the overall tone of the ad was positive and lighthearted.
Of the term "bangers," the Bureau stated, "The board considered that the word is not commonly used in Australia in this manner but that in this instance, it is not used in a derogatory way and that the use of the term bangers is one that is used by Gok as part of his programs and persona. The board considered that the term 'bangers' is not inappropriate and not strong or obscene language in this context."
That said, the retailer did change the wording from "bangers" to "boobs" in later airings of the commercial.