United Colors of Benetton Under Fire For 'Sexist, Outdated' Instagram Post

Italian brand United Colors of Benetton is facing backlash for a sexist Instagram post advertising children's clothes captioned "no girls allowed."

By Gillian Fuller, Allure
Italian brand United Colors of Benetton is facing serious backlash after posting a photo to Instagram with a caption that many feel promotes sexism, Yahoo Style reports.

[post_ads]The post features a picture of three young boys with their arms linked, all wearing colorful threads from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The caption accompanying the image reads:

“Sorry ladies. Girls not allowed! #SS17 #Benetton #Kids

Fans of the fast fashion brand were quick to voice their disappointment with the tone-deaf caption, with many calling the message “outdated” and “sexist.” Others called for a boycott of the brand. One commenter wrote,

“I thought this was finally gender-neutral clothing. Kids are starving for some companies to let go of gender boundaries. I was so happy to see this picture…and so let down to read the caption.”

Another wrote,

“What on earth is this sexist nonsense? I expected more from a company who has for decades based its marketing on inclusivity. Incredibly disappointed in you.”

The caption is especially ironic considering Benetton’s history of promoting inclusivity and social consciousness (Who could forget its famous ethnically-diverse campaigns from the '80s and '90s?). Though the caption was likely intended as a joke, one Instagram commenter pointed out that the issue does seem to be far-reaching: On the brand’s website, some of the girls’ and boys’ shorts are sold for the same price, despite the some of the former being much shorter and smaller than the latter. It’s all incredibly disappointing for a brand that once made a concerted effort to promote equality in all forms, especially since the victims of this faux pas are young children.
In an Instagram comment, Benetton (sort of) apologized for the sexist caption, writing:

"We're very sorry that our message struck the wrong chord with some of you. We only meant to be playful in this post, and we apologize if we have unintentionally offended anyone. We certainly did not intend to be sexist. In fact, we take pride in the fact that United Colors of Benetton has always promoted gender equality, which we firmly believe is necessary for building a better world. This is precisely why we launched — in 2015 — the Women Empowerment Program, a long-term sustainability program aimed at supporting and empowering women worldwide."

Despite Benetton's claims that the sexist caption was "unintentional," the offending post remains up, unchanged — and people don't seem too keen on letting the obvious error go. As one commenter responded,
"I would be more impressed with your apology if you acknowledged that you were wrong, acknowledged you need to do better and then edited the caption to show the initial caption and then add a disclaimer writing how inappropriate and sexist it is. Have some real accountability."

Well said. The ball's in your court now, Benetton.
More on inclusivity, gender and equality:


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Lifestyle Magazine: United Colors of Benetton Under Fire For 'Sexist, Outdated' Instagram Post
United Colors of Benetton Under Fire For 'Sexist, Outdated' Instagram Post
Italian brand United Colors of Benetton is facing backlash for a sexist Instagram post advertising children's clothes captioned "no girls allowed."
Lifestyle Magazine
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