The Distracted Boyfriend Meme, 2017’s Meme Of The Year, Banned By Swedish Advertising Watchdog

distracted boyfriend meme sexist


Perhaps the most utilized meme of 2017, the Distracted Boyfriend Meme, has officially been ruled sexist by Sweden’s advertising ombudsman. So, yeah, much like everything else that used to be fun in this world, that’s been ruined.

The meme that was so popular and used so often to express a unlimited range of emotions that it spawned its own Halloween costume and a riveting fictional backstory, can now get you in hot water if you use it.

distracted boyfriend meme sexist sweden ombudsman


Reports The Local

Swedish internet service provider Bahnhof used the image alongside a jobs advert; in their take on the meme, the boyfriend was turning away from “your current workplace” to stare at Bahnhof.

Sweden’s advertising watchdog RO has now ruled that the use of the meme was “gender-discriminatory”, both due to presenting women as “interchangeable” and “sex objects” and presenting “a stereotypical picture of men seeing women as interchangeable”.

The original posts shared to Bahnhof’s Facebook and Instagram pages received hundreds of comments. Many of these criticized the alleged sexism of the image, and the advert was reported to Sweden’s Advertising Ombudsman, the body which regulates the advertising industry.

“It portrays women as interchangeable objects, and that only their appearance is interesting,” wrote the ombudsman, which was unanimous in its decision. It added that there was no link between the services provided by Bahnhof and the objectified image of the women.

“According to the committee, the objectification is reinforced by the fact that women are designated as workplace representatives while the man, as the recipient of the advertisement, is being produced as an individual,” the judgment said.

Wonder if they would have issued the same condemnation of the ad if Bahnhof had used this photo instead?

distracted boyfriend meme sexist sweden


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