Have we lost our sense of humour? Cheeky poster sparks debate online

The man requested that Harvey Nichols remove the poster. Source: Twitter.com/robmcgibbon

Harvey Nichols, a luxury department store in the United Kingdom, has come under fire for an ad that many people are claiming to be sexist and inappropriate.

Writer Rob McGibbon first noticed the large poster which encouraged men to enter the London store and go down to the basement level to continue shopping.

“Great men go down,” the poster suggested. McGibbon swiftly took a picture of the sign that he deemed offensive and uploaded it to social media. “I have asked @HarveyNichols to take down its lewd & offensive poster,” he wrote. “The anti-sexism debate must work both ways. It’s not the double entendre that irks me, it’s the double standard and casual hypocrisy. Eggshells for all.”

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The message was quickly shared across social media, with many people weighing in on the debate. Some agreed with McGibbon and also encouraged the store, which has been running since 1831, to remove the sign. One person wrote: “Just imagine the uproar if the sign was for women! We would never hear the end of it!”

Another said: “I agree with you on double standards. I guess the question is is this statement demeaning men? I think the answer is no whereas when similar statements are made about women, it’s almost certainly yes. Why? Centuries of sexism.” A third added: “It is funny. However, it’s the hypocrisy that’s at issue. The reverse said of women would be attacked as lewd and oppressive even if it was amusing.”

Others disagreed, with one lady saying: “That’s one way of looking at it. As a woman, I think it’s tongue in cheek fun. And true.”

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Another lady added: “If they said great women go down (if on lower floor) or great women like it up (if top floor) I’d have a little chuckle and smile….I’d not be offended at all….Don’t you like going down?”

A third said: “Please Harvey Nics, keep this up. Some of us can still laugh.”

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Despite McGibbon’s request for the sign to be taken down, the department store hasn’t. In a follow-up message, he informed his followers that he still hadn’t heard from Harvey Nichols. And, even though he was offended by the poster, he did admit that he did go into the store and purchase an item.

Was the poster offensive, or is the customer taking things too far? Would you have been concerned if you noticed it while shopping?

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