The South African Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) banned an ad from Windhoek Lager for promoting toxic masculinity, as it suggests that only “real men” drink beer.

The ad, which was released some time ago, shows actor Gerard Butler – looking like “a macho movie star” as described by the regulator – remonstrating a fellow bar patron who asks for a slice of lime with his Windhoek. According to the ARB, the bar patron is a “gentle-looking, red-headed man – two characteristics that might typically make him a target for teasing in a toxic environment”.

The regulator ruled that the interaction between the two sends a message that is “unavoidable” and unaccepting in advertising, especially since the point of the advert is subversively made.

“The reality is that it is exactly the unspoken nature of the communication that makes it particularly dangerous – the gender stereotype portrayed as so normal that it does not even require explanation,” said the ARB.

The ruling is supported by a clause in the ARB’s code of advertising practice that bans “gender stereotyping or negative gender portrayal” unless it is “reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom”.

Heineken, who brews Windhoek, argued that the central character ordered a lime with his beer out of habit and was shown that it tastes better without the addition of the citrus.

Picture: Screenshot from video

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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.