It’s not just lewd remarks, offensive gestures or even sexual violence that haunts women around the world. Sexist remarks mostly go unnoticed and are an equally persistent problem that women face on a daily basis. Recently, a Sri Lankan ad put up by a gym triggered it notches higher with their offensive ad. The bizarre billboard put up by a gym in Colombo featured a picture of a barrel with the text, “This is no shape for a woman.”
The controversial hoarding from OSMO Fitness made an attempt to describe the “shape” of a woman and stirred up a huge storm online. Photos of the billboard started flooding social media platforms with Netizens slamming the gym for its distasteful publicity. Both men and women shared pictures of the ad and lambasted them for body-shaming women.
With the hashtag #BoycottOsmo, some even started social media campaigns and asked the fitness brand to take it down and apologise.
— Shanghi R (@ShanghiShanmu) January 18, 2018
— Aruni Abeyesundere (@aruni_t) January 18, 2018
Even the ‘barrel shape’ person might be healthier than the one having the most preferred shape! Prime purpose of exercise is to get fit!! https://t.co/3BKj2eazdo
— Ahmed maqsoom (@ahmed_maqsoom) January 19, 2018
#SriLanka is taking the piss with this seriously. There is no other country that loves to comment on women who are a bit curvy in a negative way. Keep your thoughts to yourself, don’t hurt feelings. I bloody hope no women join this gym! #BoycottOsmo https://t.co/mPTyZw6VJb
— Sarah Mishealle (@sawuh_93) January 26, 2018
Well the ad was nor designed for women who are fine being barrel shaped; it is for those who desire more than being something roll down a hill.
Sri Lanka women take on ‘body shaming’ ad https://t.co/TJdlp6lmUN
— Left of Sanity (@LeftofSanity) January 26, 2018
Okay lemme ask yall:
Is a barrel shape the shape a woman should aspire to be?!
You rule! What a disgusting sign how about we don’t put expectations on ANY woman’s body, I think Osmo secretly is into Barrel ladies though. ;) pic.twitter.com/8WuQncOSmj
— Stranger Still (@StrangerStill) January 27, 2018
Disgusting-the ad and the mindset! Sri Lanka women take on ‘body shaming’ barrel ad https://t.co/i2clva0T6U
— Elephant Man (@ghantahaathi) January 26, 2018
Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Harsha de Silva intervened and asserted on Twitter, “I asked the Colombo MC Commissioner to remove this unapproved offensive hoarding. I would not tolerate this in Kotte. #SriLanka.” The banner was subsequently concealed with a black layer overnight.
— Harsha de Silva (@HarshadeSilvaMP) January 18, 2018
— Munza Mushtaq (@munza14) January 19, 2018
Subsequently, the Colombo Municipal Council allowed the women rights activists to use the space to display a message against sexism for two days. “No more space for sexism,” in Sri Lanka’s three major languages – Sinhala, Tamil and English.
— Harsha de Silva (@HarshadeSilvaMP) January 19, 2018
— ThyagiRuwanpathirana (@ThyagiR) January 19, 2018
We must never let go of DETERMINATION to achieve what is right. https://t.co/yxHPuCyd9l
— peacemother1 (@peacemother1) January 19, 2018
If they were so concerned about the health of women they could have created a campaign around helping women feel their best. It was poorly thought out, derogatory, sexist & a cheap shot at a demographic that keeps being told that looks matter more than well-being and achievement.
— Nicole (@nicamsterdam) January 26, 2018
In their official statement, Osmo later clarified that the advertisement was not intended to “degrade, offend, insult or undermine any one person or women in general”. The ad has now been withdrawn, the Daily Star reported.