The last time Mockingbird looked, Swedish clerics were deeply worried about girls there who wanted their fathers to “give them away” in the marriage ceremony. Swedish concern most recently has extended to men, brutally victimized by boxer shorts. Here’s our latest update (thanks again to JD).


A Swedish advertisement featuring a muscular man clad only in a pair of boxer shorts has been condemned as offensive to men as it portrays them as “mere sex objects”. Sweden’s advertising ombudsman upheld a complaint against the advertisement, promoting a television operator called Boxer, in which a photo shop character called Robert stretches out on a sheepskin rug wearing only a pair of straining, white boxer shorts.

“Even if the intention was to present a humorous link between the man and product, the man is presented, through his posture and lack of clothing, as a mere sex object in a way that could be deemed offensive to men in general,” the ombudsman’s office wrote in a statement. It added that Robert’s “legs, chest, arms and abdomen are very muscular, and the outline of his genitalia is visible through his underpants”. The statement underlined Sweden’s apparently unwavering commitment to sexual equality, which has made it one of the most gender equal societies in the world.

Boxer, which has used Robert to help advertise its packages of cable television channels for about 10 years, defended its position. In a statement, the company dismissed the accusation of sexism, saying that through almost a decade of a service Robert was known as “disarmingly sympathetic, almost over courteous and in some sense the pastiche of a geek.”