Just when you start thinking the world couldn’t get any more sexist, you’re proved wrong — again.
Japanese railway operator, Tokyu Corp., released an astonishing 30-second “etiquette” video that aims to stop women putting on makeup while commuting on the train. Actress Sawa Nimura opens the advertisement with the most bizarre lines: “Women in the city are all beautiful. But they are ugly to see, at times.”
The camera then focuses on two women sitting in front of her, applying mascara and lipstick.
“Mittomonai,” murmurs Nimura, a term that translates as “ugly to see.” She then imagines jumping in front of the oblivious women and dancing, “Why can’t you do it before you get on the train?” she sings. “You get your eyebrows back/You have more eyelashes on/Your looks have changed/They are all seen.”
The video ends with the subtitle, “Please refrain from putting on makeup in trains.”
The metro company remains undaunted by the incredibly misogynist message in the video and claims they have received more positive feedback (about the makeup ad) than negative, according to Japan Times.
It also hasn’t issued an apology and has no plans to withdraw the ad.
The makeup ad, spokesman Masayuki Yanagisawa stated, is part of an eight-part video series that also discourages people from using smartphones while walking, disturbing lines or shoving their bags at other passengers — all of which may be considered public hazard and nuisance, except putting makeup on a train.
However, Yanagisawa added the ad’s themes were based on a latest annual survey, in which putting makeup on was ranked eighth among the top things passengers find distasteful.
Opponents of the ad think the video is singling out women for denunciation.
“Why are they being criticized for doing something that causes no harm to others? For just looking ugly?” one internet user complained.
“I can understand it if Tokyu’s ad asks me to stop putting makeup on because makeup powder might spill over or its smell bothers others,” wrote Twitter user ryudokaoruko. “But a railway company has no right to tell me whether I look beautiful or ugly.”
"People are angry not because 'they want to put makeup on in trains'. Absolutely not. They're resisting this society that comes up with so many different reasons to justify misogyny and to oppress women," said hinase6s.
“If the firm wants to clamp down on people who make others uncomfortable, it should create a commercial targeting people with body odors, or people who smell of alcohol or vomit,” wrote @tinasuke.
Despite the fact that some people have pointed out that drunkenness and lewd behavior are much bigger nuisances, there are others who are comparing the women who preen themselves on trains to sex workers.
"People are saying that in the West, applying make up in public is a sign that you're a prostitute, but Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is famous for often touching up her lipstick in front of the public (the talk is more about which brand she uses and no one criticizes)," said Papurika_dreams.
Meanwhile, Tokyu said it will continue to teach its public manners until March.
At a time when countries are fighting to reduce gender gap, Japan’s has fallen 10 places lower than the last, according to the Global Gender Gap Report.
"Japan records a significant widening of the gender gap for professional and technical workers, adversely affecting its ranking despite further progress in reducing the gender gap in tertiary education enrollment and women’s representation among legislators, senior officials and managers, and in improving wage equality for similar work," the report said.
Maybe these types of videos are the reason why.
Banner credit: Youtube, My Diary Of Tokyu Lines