‘Women are not pieces of meat’: Sandwich brand asked to apologize over ad

February 2, 2023 - 1:56 PM
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Kimpoy Feliciano in Subway Philippines' commercial for its B.M.T. sandwiches (Subway Philippines/Released)

“Women are not pieces of meat.”

A party-list and a former lawmaker called out a sandwich shop for using women as a metaphor in promoting different variants of its product.

Gabriela Women’s party-list on Wednesday slammed Subway Philippines‘ advertisement on Facebook which featured vlogger Kimpoy Feliciano calling himself a “lover boy” and being smitten by three women.

In the ad, Kimpoy said that all of the women are “equally great and different” and that it’s “hard to choose” among them.

The commercial then features each woman holding a variant of Subway’s signature B.M.T. (biggest, meatiest, tastiest) sandwiches — the Classic B.M.T., the B.M.T. Plus and the B.M.T. Double Cheese.

“Kasalanan ba if I want them all?” Kimpoy told the viewers while being surrounded by the women holding sandwiches.

READ: ‘Mahirap mamili’: Vlogger Kimpoy Feliciano promotes B.M.T. sandwich in new ad

The video has since been removed from its Facebook page after earning criticism from some Filipinos.

A Twitter user was able to save it and share it on the short-messaging platform.

“Hindi ako babae at hindi rin naman ako sandwich, but bakit feeling ko ang lakas ng ‘women as pieces of meat’ undertone nitong video? To clarify, it’s not about Kimpoy. It’s about how this campaign’s messaging seems to celebrate male machismo and objectify women,” he wrote.

Machismo is defined as having a “strong sense of masculine pride” or an “exaggerated masculinity.”

“This Subway ad reeks machismo. Why use women to compare different sandwich options? Ganito pa din ba ang tingin ng ibang lalaki sa mga babae? I like Subway but this isn’t clicking for me,” another Filipino wrote.

Gabriela also released a statement about the ad, saying it is “concerned with the underlying message” of the ad “which objectifies women.”

“In the said ad, social media personality Kimpoy Feliciano is seen comparing three women to different sandwich options, and vaguely describing them as the ‘biggest, tastiest, and meatiest,'” the party-list said.

“We would like to remind Subway that women are not pieces of meat. The advertisement reeks of sexism and misogyny. It is deeply offensive, triggering, and insensitive, especially when many Filipino women continue to experience various forms of sexual violence and abuse,” it added.

Gabriela further said that its statement is a reminder that “we still have a very long way to go” in terms of how women are portrayed in different forms of media and content.

“We urge Subway to take down this advertisement and issue an apology to the public. May this incident serve as a lesson for companies to do better, and be more sensitive to the plight of women,” it added.

Former Kabataan party-list representative Sarah Elago also shared Gabriela’s statement and quoted some of its words for emphasis.

“‘May this incident serve as a lesson for companies to do better, and be more sensitive to the plight of women,'” she wrote on Facebook.

Subway on Wednesday acknowledged the comments in a now-deleted Facebook post.

“We are overwhelmed with the response to the video we have released on this page. The video is intended to connect the variety one gets from Subway’s three crave-worthy B.M.T. options, all made equally delicious,” it said before.

“The B.M.T. classic brings the thrill of a sandwich done just right. The ‘double cheese’ offers more flavor, an added value at a good price. Meanwhile, the egg mayo B.M.T. Plus presents an even healthier choice for discerning eaters out there,” it further said.

The sandwich shop in the deleted post also talked about “the B.M.T. message.”

“B.M.T. moments happen when you are faced with confusion over almost equally great choices. Whether it’s the choice of food or a make or break life decision, anyone can experience their own B.M.T. moment,” it said.

“Offered with similar realities, one needs to come up with the #BetterChoice that is worth more. How about you? What is your B.M.T. Moment? We would love to hear it too,” Subway added.

Charisse, Gabriela’s public relations officer, uploaded a screengrab of the deleted statement which she commented was a “non-apology.”

“Regardless of your intention, the sexist and misogynist ad that you released triggered women who experienced harassment and abuse,” she tweeted with an eyeroll emoji.

Prior to releasing the now-deleted post, the sandwich brand posted about the “B.M.T. Moment” message on a Facebook post.

“Deciding between equally great choices is called your #BMTMoment! When was the last time you experienced this?” it said on January 30.

Subway_FB post
(Screengrab by Interaksyon from subwayphilippines/Facebook)

Subway has yet to respond to Interaksyon’s request for comment on Gabriela’s statement and request for apology.

Women as objects 

Meanwhile, the concept of sexual objectification of women involves them being primarily viewed as an object of heterosexual male sexual desire rather than as a whole person or individual.

This is when women are treated as something to be looked at and evaluated on the basis of appearance under a “male gaze.”

Experts said that this makes women “experience unpleasant feelings such as shame and anxiety.”

“If repeated, it can eventually lead to long-term psychological harm,” scholars said in an article on The Conversation.

“When women are exposed to sexually objectifying events in their everyday lives, they become more preoccupied with their physical appearance. This, in turn, leads to increased negative emotions like anxiety, anger, embarrassment and shame,” they added.