This is True
bullet  These Photos are Not for Discriminating Consumers!

When is the discriminatory treatment of women not really discriminatory? How about when an ad campaign shows women and men being treated exactly the same? Nope: that's still discrimination! At least, in South Africa. But to really judge, you need to see the photos, which follow the story from True's 13 March 2005 issue:

Gender Discrimination

To call attention to its new Fall line, the Young Designers Emporium of South Africa has a new poster ad campaign in its shop windows. The "Brand Spanking New Fashions" posters feature models in their underwear sporting red marks on their thighs to imply they've been spanked with a paddle. The Law Society of South Africa has expressed outrage over the posters, which go "against the grain of eradicating the trivialization and humiliation of the female body," says Society spokeswoman Nonto Umlaw. "We show a man and woman being spanked," points out YDE Creative Director Sam Coleman. "It is quite surprising that no one said anything about the man." (Pietermaritzburg Witness) ...Well no: obviously he deserved it.

And here are the photos -- one's discrimination, the other is fine:

'Spanked' woman. This advertisement is an outrage. It's horrendous discrimination for a woman to be "spanked" -- why, look at those red marks and everything! The store that ran this ad should be hounded out of business.
'Spanked' man. This advertisement, however, is fine -- no problem seen; perfectly acceptable, please carry on. Any redness seen is probably just a color balance problem with the photography. (Photos courtesy YDE.)

- - -

This page is an example of This is True’s style of “Thought-Provoking Entertainment”. “True” is a newsletter that uses “weird news” as a vehicle to explore the human condition, and bring up questions about society — in an entertaining way. If you enjoyed this page, consider scrolling up to the top of the page for a free e-mail subscription.

To really support True, sign up for a paid subscription to the much-expanded “Premium” edition:

One Year Upgrade

(More upgrade options here.)

Q: Why would I want to pay more than the regular rate?

A: To support the publication to help it thrive and stay online, and this kind of support means less future need for price increases (and smaller increases when they do happen), which enables more people to upgrade. This option was requested by existing Premium subscribers.

14 Comments on This Entry

All comments on this site are reviewed prior to being published. Spammers: don't waste your time. The posting criteria are simple: if a comment is worth visitors' time to read, it's approved. If not, it's not.

Posted by Herby, Germany on June 20, 2009:

I'll have you know that corporal punishment in South African schools was, until around 1990 or so, quite commonplace. My butt has had the displeasure of being "paddled" on more than one occasion -- the cane, however, was much worse.

Using the metaphorical paddle in an ad such as this would, to most Safricans, therefore be more hilarious than sexist, discriminatory or dehumanising than anything else. One can only assume that there was no trouble with discipline in Nonto Umlaw's schooling days since girls only got rapped over their fingers with a ruler.

Posted by Warp, Alberta, CA on December 13, 2009:

Well I must say she is mighty fetchin'. At least the guy looks to be in similar physical shape as the girl, so that is one point in their favor. I agree this is stupid discrimination.

Posted by Audrey, New Jersey on January 19, 2010:

I would like to apply to be a model for your fashions! :) Or a make-up artist (I love to paint bottoms red!) Haha, looks fun, and not so surprising that people freak out about silly stuff.

Posted by Gary, Austin,TX on February 19, 2010:

I'm going to organize a new political party", "Anti-PC". It will include, as a list of the ethnic groups that support it, all the derogatory nouns I can think of. To start with: I'm. Jewish, so the first plank in its platform is "All kikes welcome."

I doubt this will get posted.

So there.


Why, is it offensive? -rc

Posted by M, Texas on March 31, 2010:

I find it distasteful because they're always young people. I'm 50 decrepit years old and wanna see some old hags getting spanked! How about some old geezers? Ahh. I can just see my wrinkled, pasty sagging rear turning beet red, but who wants to look at some delicious looking young hottie every time? Old farts of the world rebel! Let these whippersnappers know we want to see old wrinkled asses as well!

Just don't hit to hard.. I'm mostly skin and bone and that looks like it might break my hip bones..But then again maybe I could sue for breaking my bones... Hmmmm...

Posted by Kay, UK on April 17, 2010:

Hmm... The thing that immediately strikes me isn't that they're spanked - there are people who have that fetish and who am I to judge - but that the woman is far more sexualized and hotted up than the male. It almost looks as if he thought he lost his keys while idly undressing after work, and scatterbrainedly got down on all fours and started thinking about where they were. The woman on the other hand while thankfully not eyeing the viewer, still seems to be posing more than the guy.

It would have been far more interesting (and hot) if the guy would have gotten the same treatment: Wearing nothing but a loose shirt and tight sexy shiny undies, legs in the spotlight and given the same shine treatment while wearing shiny sexy shoes (yes, there is such a thing as manly sexy shoes too).

The legs of guys is hot too, and a far too neglected thing in advertising. I've never gotten why guys seem so obsessed with their arms.

Posted by AllanW, Rancho Cucamonga on July 20, 2010:

I don't agree that these pictures are "exactly the same."

The woman is wearing "sexy" underwear, and nothing else (except shoes) below the waist. Her face is almost completely hidden in shadow. There is a fairly large red blotch on her leg near her butt, implying that there is much more hidden by the underwear, and that it was caused by a lot of spanking.

The man is wearing dark trousers, although they're pulled down to mid-thigh. His briefs are apparently designed to be functional, not sexy. He also has a red blotch on his leg, but at least the visible part is much smaller than hers, so even if it was caused by spanking, it doesn't seem to be as extreme.

To be fair, I haven't seen very much underwear for men that was designed to look sexy. What I HAVE seen looks pretty stupid to me - I'm not sure if other people feel the same way, but if they do, that certainly explains why there isn't a lot more of it, and it also explains why the guy isn't wearing it.

I don't think this invalidates the main point of this story: the two pictures have more in common than differences, so the idea that one is offensive and one isn't is pretty silly.

But I don't think you can truthfully say that the pictures are identical except for gender.


The photos are "identical" in what they are portraying: both have been exposed down to undergarments that are typically worn, and both show evidence of being punished. Simple as that. -rc

Posted by John, Honolulu on July 28, 2010:

M, Texas: that is both hilarious and disturbing. Anyways, I can understand their fuss. Just saying, which one do you think was used more?

Posted by Sam, Seattle on September 24, 2010:

My thoughts on male underwear is that the stuff absolutely sucks! There has never been anything that I think looks sexy and I urge all males to do something about it! I started wearing ladies underwear 49 years ago and I still do to this day and my wife and me still have a blast when we go shopping together!

Oh, and the spanking bit? I urge everyone of you out there to go and try it, just remember this: Spanking is NOT about muscles, it is about getting the erogenous zones to wake up and react, and they DO react when done right!

Posted by CHARLES F, MALIBU, CA on November 4, 2010:

Does anybody REALLY think that the slightly reddened blush on the models' thighs are the result of anything other than a light, erotic spanking? For those individuals who have been unfortunate enough to have experienced a true paddling, the "blush" would actually be a blatantly dark crimson.

Complain when a real travesty has happened; not a silly ad campaign, advocating only erotic S&M.


I don't think anyone really thinks the marks are from spanking, I think they (correctly!) think they're from makeup. -rc

Posted by mark in Pa on May 25, 2012:

Is that Ashton?


I'm pretty sure Ashton is 1) not from South Africa, and 2) not in need of low-paying modeling gigs. But the model does resemble him! -rc

Posted by Thera in the South on May 25, 2012:

Pfft. A tempest in a teacup.

On a more personal note, I would totally shop there. The ads are creative, unusual, memorable and eye-catching. They're generating "buzz"; exactly what an ad campaign is supposed to do. People who have never heard of YDE now have. Success!


Exactly! It's surely why they were happy to let me reproduce the ad images. Smart! -rc

Posted by Samuel, Chico CA on September 23, 2016:

I know it would have taken away from the impact of the ad but in a country of 90% Black people isn't it just a tiny bit racist to use White models?


Do you think it would be more racist, or less racist, to show black people being beaten?! -rc

Posted by Shir-el, Israel on September 24, 2016:

Sam, Seattle on September 24, 2010: my husband also preferred my cotton briefs: they were lighter weight and much softer against the skin than the 'male' versions -- both important factors in a hot climate.


Not to mention that virtually all male-designated briefs are downright ugly! I still wear them, though, since it's quite rare that anyone but my wife sees me in mine -- and she seems to like them just fine. :-) -rc

Post a Comment

Read this before posting a comment! Comments are of course the opinion of the poster. All comments must be approved by the site owner before they appear. Only interesting, pertinent comments that have to do with the entry will be approved. Read the existing comments before posting your own to ensure you're not saying something that's already been covered.

Subscribe to Entry Comments without Commenting

Put your e-mail address in the box to subscribe to notifications of comments made on this specific entry. Confirmation required, unsubscribe individually anytime without affecting your regular newsletter subscription.