P&G claimed women’s feet are ‘5 times’ stinkier than men’s but they regret it
Scent of a woman-hater?
Procter & Gamble raised a stink on Chinese social media after releasing a controversial advertisement that claimed women’s feet smell “five times worse” than men’s. The odiferous ad, posted March 13 to the China-based social networking platform WeChat, aimed to promote a line of female beauty products, per the South China Morning Post.
“Women’s feet smell five times worse than men’s. If you don’t believe it, smell it,” read the caption to the now-deleted infographic, which included a series of unsubstantiated claims regarding feminine hygiene.
The sexist advertisement — which has since been slammed by detractors — asserted that women generally forgo wearing socks, which turns their shoes into veritable “sauna rooms,” effectively making their feet reek, the Morning Post reported. According to the commercial, that stench was compounded by female footsies harboring six times as much bacteria as their male counterparts.
US consumer good giants P&G didn’t cite a specific source, but a 2019 study published in the National Library of Medicine found that women’s feet in general boasted a higher “biodiversity of cultured bacterial species” (17 individual species) than men (14 individual species). However, scientists deemed the findings “not statistically significant” with regard to cleanliness.
The ad also attributed women’s alleged podiatric odorousness to women’s feet containing more sweat glands. While that discrepancy is indeed true, men in general sweat more easily than women.
Other dubious declarations included claims that women’s chest areas smell worse than men’s, that their hair is twice as dirty due to less frequent washing, and that their underwear is grubbier on average — “even for women who pay close attention to personal hygiene.”
Needless to say, social media didn’t take kindly to P&G’s spurious claims.
“The advertisement is a form of mind control: humiliating women while still making money from them,” wrote one offended party, as reported by the Morning Post. “By the way, do these allegations have any scientific data to support them?”
Another fumed: “The advertisement shows P&G looks down on women. I will boycott its products.”
Following the outcry, P&G reportedly issued an apology on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo.
“We sincerely apologize for the article’s inappropriate content, which disrespected women,” the company wrote in Chinese. “P&G always advocates equal, tolerant and respectful values.”
They added they have since deleted the item and “seriously overhauled the (WeChat) account.”
In a similar misogynist advertising incident in November, South Korea’s largest dairy purveyor came under fire over a commercial that depicted women as cows.