Lumine, a company owned by JR East that runs shopping malls found in JR stations across Japan, has come under fire for its new commercial.
The commercial, which the company claims was made to encourage Japan’s working women, shows a woman protagonist on her way to work. When the protagonist encounters a male colleague, who derides her appearance and flirts with her co-worker. He goes on to tell the protagonist that she shouldn’t be too down because she’s not a “workplace flower”. Rather than punch him and move on with her life, the woman decides that she needs to change in order for this male co-worker to like her.
The ad has drawn strong online criticisms from women, and although the company has since pulled the ad and apologized, there are still calls to boycott the company. The reaction to the ad was spearheaded by this hilarious blog post from Internet user Pokonan, which is translated below.
Did Lumine miss the mark in an era where women in Japan are fighting for equality in the workplace?
Living The Low Life In The Countryside:
A poor, unpopular girl’s miscellaneous musings on what’s trending online
Lumine’s Ad To Encourage Working Women Is Completely Awful
There were thunderous roars of criticism on Twitter over this, but when I happened to take a look at one of these RTs, it really was awful.
In fact it was so awful, that there were even some people who proclaimed a boycott against Lumine, saying they’d never buy there again.
This is a video of the ad. First off, just watch it.
[NB: This video plays the ad twice].
By the way, the video was uploaded to YouTube with the title “A Special Movie To Encourage Working Women, From Lumine”, but it’s pretty difficult to find out exactly which part of this video is meant to encourage women.
The female protagonist.
She’s pretty stylish and a beautiful woman.
And then, some dude wearing glasses, who appears to be her superior, shows up.
And then along comes his barrage of sexual harassment.
Suddenly, he says, pretty rudely: “Man, you look tired. Didn’t you sleep?”
When the woman replies, “Umm, no, I slept as I usually do”, he makes fun of her, saying “You look like that after sleeping? www“.
The woman is dead in the eyes.
Kinda reminded me of that scene the other day where Princess Kaguya also looked completely dead in the eyes.
I mean, come on, if you have that scummy dude tagging along with you from first thing in the morning, a girl’s gonna be tired.
Usually in ads like this they try to fool you into thinking that the girl is not that attractive through her hairstyle or glasses or something, but she clearly doesn’t have the kind of face that people are gonna complain about…
And next, a girl with curly hair crops up.
Glasses dude calls to her in an excited voice, just like Tamori, “Hey, did you cut your hair?” (Umm, no, she just curled it).
When the girl with the curls walks off, glasses dude is all like “Yeah, she’s really cute isn’t she ww”. What the hell has this guy come to work to do, anyway?
The female protagonist just goes along with him, and says, “I know, right? And she’s a nice girl, too”.
When she says this, scum dude walks off, and calls back to her, “Don’t worry, Yoshino, you two have different things required of you”.
And then, this scene:
“In this case, this is just banter, that Yoshino is ‘just a colleague’ and not ‘a workplace flower'”.
A fucking workplace flower? Please. To still be saying stuff like that, I mean, seriously, what century are we in…?
And here’s the twist:
Yup, in order for that sexual harasser to actually like her, she says she’ll change, try harder with her style. Now which part of that is actually encouraging working women?????
I was kinda waiting for a twist where she dresses in battle gear, and beats the shit out of glasses dude.
So basically, they intentionally made this horrible ad.
And yet, this woman, who has been insulted — it was far from banter — says I’ll change ☆ so that the man will like her, what the hell..?
No matter which way I think of it, the one who should change should be the man who just looks down on women and judges them.
To cram all those different elements making such a fool of women in just one minute of video, you know, on the contrary, must be quite difficult. They really packed in a lot of disdain for women, but they’re also really messing with their female customers…If, at the end, she at least said something like “I’m not gonna to take any notice of that scum, I’m gonna dress however the hell I want!”, then I’d understand.
What’s more, I’m also really pissed off at how they portray women in a way that divides them, making the female protagonist the antithesis of curly-hair girl.
(Usually, such an awful man would definitely have things said about him behind his back by women).
I mean, both of them are clearly pretty women, and the difference in their appearances is just a difference of taste.
If even a woman as beautiful as that will have her appearance discriminated against if she is not dressed to the tastes of a man, then far from supporting working women, they are rather inciting further despair for working women in society.
And finally, this scene [Lumine is changing, too]:
It seems that up to now, Lumine have gone along the lines of women enjoying fashion for themselves rather than for anyone else, and there were a good few funny commercials in that vein, but now they’ve destroyed it and changed it completely.
I wonder if this awful video is a declaration of that? ( ^ω^ )
Here are the up-votes and down-votes on the video. Seems obvious enough.
(Of course, I also clicked down-vote).
Apparently there was also a second part to the movie, where the curly-hair girl is surrounded by men, and they say something like, “women who like history are beautiful” — which makes no sense at all — so much of a muchness really, same as part one. It was another ad where I just have no idea what Lumine are trying to convey.
I don’t want them to just get away with making stuff that is disdainful of women, so I too have no intention of spending money in a place that would make such an objectionable video, but sadly, because I live in the countryside, we never had a Lumine anyway…
For those of you who live in these flourishing places, please do your best to boycott Lumine.
Comments from Twitter:
I’m a bit late on this whole Lumine ad incident, and I only just saw the breakdown of the ad but it really is awful. I bet it was a meeting room full of old men who gave this the go-ahead.
Hilarious blog post ww
I thought that the video had been deleted and that I would be able to see it for myself, but seeing it in stills like this, it was true — “These two women are the same person!”
This is the Lumine ad that was heavily criticized and then pulled.
So roughly speaking, I suppose this ad basically wants to say that “Pay attention to how stylish you are and shop at Lumine”…a group of adults made this ad, so I wonder if there wasn’t another way they could have done it…
When something is this bad, it actually makes you want to watch it more. I thought it might even be like viral marketing or something, but when you get boycotted it’s not going to really help you sell.
This is awful.
The management and advertising team that gave the final approval for this are really awful. Is this the reality for Lumine?
I see, now I get what this was all about. Yup, it’s baaaad.
I couldn’t see the video, but this will do. This really was a lame ad. @kdxn: First time I’m seeing stills criticizing the Lumine ad 笑
I thought that up to now Lumine really understood that style is not for the benefit of the opposite sex, rather it’s something we do for those of the same sex. Why have they changed that?
Ultimately the Lumine video was made private before I could see it, but I don’t really see the distinction between these two women in the screenshots.
This is awful.
There’s no Lumine in my region, we’re all Atre [another station mall company]. And I don’t use Atre anyway.
So this Lumine ad, what I thought when I saw it was that gender harassment happens often without any malice at all. But even if there is no ill will meant, why does the other person get hurt? There’s a gap there between people’s sense of values and a gap in communication.