Sweden prioritizes sexism over comedy with “discriminatory” meme

sweden sexism

Take that, comedy! The Distracted Boyfriend meme is such a big part of the internet that it even has its own Wikipedia page. Yet that didn’t stop Sweden – country of political correctness – to call out a company as “sexist” for using the for job recruitment purposes.

The setup of the photo is simple, and we feel stupid explaining it but here goes: a guy is walking around with his girlfriend but is distracted by another girl and checks her out. The meme started off as a simple stock photo in 2015 but quickly gained popularity as from 2017 people started attaching texts to the image, such as here:

distracted boyfriend meme

© dazeddigital.com

Brilliant. The meme truly burst onto the internet scene, and as is wont to happen we expected it to have been retired at this point due to overuse. (It even won meme of the year in April!). Not so fast, however, as a Swedish company decided to have a go at creating its own version. In the ad above you can see the following text labels: Bahnhof (the company) – YouYour current job. A truly hilarious spin on the meme, that only an uninspired marketing employee with a gap in the content calendar could’ve come up with in five minutes.

It should’ve all ended there (as a Facebook post with two likes and one comment) but alas: Sweden continued its crusade for political correctness by having an ombudsman investigate the advertisement. The verdict has fallen, and the ad is deemed sexist, with the ombudsman releasing the following statement:

It presents women as interchangeable items and suggests only their appearance is interesting … It also shows degrading stereotypical gender roles of both men and women and gives the impression men can change female partners as they change jobs.

This is obviously a lot of effort to put into an image that at best should’ve merited a “heh” or a shrug. What does this mean for Bahnhof you might wonder? What trouble are they in for releasing their horribly, horribly passé spin on a meme that was only still being shared by grandmothers and recently released convicts? The answer: absolutely nothing, as the ombudsman has no power and can criticize ads but can’t impose sanctions.

So that’s cool.  Hopefully Sweden will find its sense of humor again next time and just go: “well I don’t really care if it’s sexist or not, it’s lame.”.

If you want to experience political correctness yourself, then read our guide on how to get from Arlanda airport to Stockholm city center.

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