This French Ad, Aimed at Celebrating Women, Is Ridiculed for Stereotyping Them Instead

Vacuum cleaners only respond to estrogen?

Here's a new one: An anti-sexism ad has been pulled for being, well, sexist.

French TV station France 3 pulled its latest campaign after widespread criticism. The offending ad shows a home in a state of disarray—an oven smokes, children's toys are scattered, an unattended iron catches aflame, a dog is left whimpering—while ominous expect-sad-little-girl-ghost-here music plays.

It closes on a shot of a woman's closet, with one pair of shoes clearly missing, as upbeat music plays and the answer to the question that's presumably your mind (i.e., "Where the hell are all the women?!") appears: "They are on France 3."

The video, which was shared on Twitter, is accompanied by the following (translated) caption, which only makes it worse: "More different, more modern, more feminine! France 3 affirms its values through this new campaign honoring its female presenters!"

Both video and the tweet are flanked by the lead copy for the work: "Most of our TV hosts are hostesses."

This is a strange attempt to showboat its number of women broadcasters and laud gender equality in the workplace, but ends up missing the mark altogether—by suggesting the woman's place is actually in the home. Even France's women's rights minister weighed in with criticism:

The tweet reads, "The 'womens' campaign by @france3tv doesn't seem to me like a good way to valorize egalitarian professionals among TV presentors, dear @DelphineErnotte." Burn.

Ernotte, the president of France Télévisions, which owns France 3, is, curiously, also a woman. (Maybe her husband complains a lot about the scorched ironing?) And the irony wasn't lost elsewhere on Twitter, either.

Roo Powell is freelance contributor to Adweek.