That’s Not Funny!

Swedes are known for a number of things, but a sense of humor is not one of them. You are no doubt familiar with this meme, which has been put to any number of humorous uses:

The meme reflects well-known phenomena of human nature and is endlessly adaptable. But not in Sweden:

For anyone unfamiliar with the story so far, Stockholm-based internet service provider Bahnhof shared the meme, officially titled ‘Disloyal man walking with his girlfriend and looking amazed at another seductive girl’ as part of a recruitment advert. It labelled the boyfriend “you”, the girlfriend “your current workplace” and the second girl “Bahnhof”, prompting hundreds of accusations of sexism from commenters on Facebook and Instagram.

A total of 15 private individuals reported the advert to RO, and the watchdog’s jury came to a unanimous decision that it was “gender-discriminatory”. Not only were women presented as “interchangeable sex objects”, the RO judgment claimed, with some of its members arguing that the ad also showed a stereotypical and “degrading” image of men.

The “watchdog” RO is an industry group that has no power to ban the ad, but seeks to “ensure that trust in advertising is retained and to show that no further legislation is needed.” It found unpersuasive the suggestion that the ad was intended to be funny:

In its judgment, the RO acknowledged that humour and exaggeration could serve to “mitigate gender-discriminatory impressions”, but also noted that “there is a risk that what you want to ironize or make fun of is instead reinforced”.

The totalitarian tendencies of the Left advance steadily.

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