Call to pull ‘ladette’ dating ad

By Keren David, June 4, 2009
The poster in West Hampstead. It has been criticised for being demeaning to women

The poster in West Hampstead. It has been criticised for being demeaning to women

An advertisement featuring a woman wearing a low-cut top and clutching a glass of beer to promote an online dating agency has been condemned as “offensive”.

People living and working near a prominent poster site in West Hampstead, London complained that the picture had been cropped to omit the woman’s head.

All that is shown is her torso, the beer and the slogan: “What’s more, she’s Jewish.”

“It’s saying that her brain’s not important,” said Sarah Kaiser, who organised a letter of complaint to the dating company, JDate, backed by 40 signatures.

“All that matters, apparently, are the big boobs and her liking for alcohol. We feel it’s demeaning to both men and women.”

The advert is one of a series run by JDate with the same slogan. Other images included a topless man and a woman in boxing gloves.

Vicky Prais, a lawyer from West Hampstead, said: “They are trying to be edgy and controversial. But this is not the way to secure new subscribers.

“It is, to all intents and purposes, portraying Jewish women as nothing more than ladettes with a healthy cleavage.

“I’m single and many of my friends use JDate. Now I would boycott it until they take the poster down.”

No-one from JDate’s Los Angeles-based parent company, Spark Networks, was available to comment this week. But Hanan Maayan, who works for the website in Israel and is soon to take over responsibility for marketing it in Europe, said the advert would be withdrawn soon.

He said: “We set out to create a campaign that got the audience to think about JDate in a new, humorous and light-hearted way.

“We decided to focus on images of Jewish singles that challenged the traditional stereotypes by showing a range of people who have interesting ‘stories’ to tell — the female boxer, the hunky male swimmer, the female guitarist, the ‘biker’ chick, the PlayStation addict, the girl who loves beer.

“The ‘What’s more, he’s/she’s Jewish’ phrase underpins this idea of challenging Jewish stereotypes.”

He added that the campaign had been praised in Israel for conveying an open-minded and confident message.

The models in the adverts were real JDate members, he claimed, and many of those working on the campaign were both female and Jewish.

The poster has inspired a lively debate on the social network site Facebook. While many agree that it is offensive, some take a more relaxed view.

One man wrote: “I think that boat has sailed, many Jewish women have already fully embraced this sort of culture, JDate are just buying in to more.”

Last updated: 10:47am, June 5 2009