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Swedish papers say no to 'lesbian love' advert

David Landes · 20 Jan 2010, 15:44

Published: 20 Jan 2010 15:44 GMT+01:00

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“We are really surprised because we don’t think it’s controversial,” Mikael Andersson of the Skåne-based affiliate of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, told the advertising trade magazine Resumé.

Andersson’s comments came after learning that two prominent newspapers in southern Sweden, Sydsvenskan and City, refused to run the advertisement, one of four in a campaign entitled “Kärleken har många ansikten” (‘Love has many faces’).

The campaign, which includes both print and television ads, was part of an effort by local branch RFSL Rådgivning Skåne to strengthen the identity of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people living in the region.

According to Sydsvenskan editor-in-chief Daniel Sandström, the fourth ad in the series, which featured three partially clothed women wrapped in a seemingly passionate embrace, was unacceptable.

“I have no problem with printing provocative images; we had pictures from, among others, artist Andres Serrano,” he told Resumé, referring to the American artist behind controversial works such as “Piss Christ” and the “Blood and Semen” series.

“But the picture in question simply didn’t meet standards of acceptability. I think rather that it reproduces a cliché-filled image of lesbian love.”

But RFSL’s Andersson refuted the editor’s assertion, arguing instead that the picture was not a cliché image.

“They aren’t thought of as stereotypical images meant to tempt the viewer,” he explained in a statement.

“Rather it’s the models who are doing something between themselves.”

He added that all the pictures in the campaign must be considered together and that it’s important to have all the pictures published in all the media running the campaign.

Andersson theorized that the newspapers deemed the image in question as “not appropriate” due to some “idea of press ethics”.

Story continues below…

A broadcast ad featured in RFSL's "Love has many faces" campaign

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:48 January 20, 2010 by livinginsweden
I love lesbian love n sex.... ... show me more please...
16:54 January 20, 2010 by glaciator
had this been an advert for perfume/underwear/anything else, it would have probably been deemed as 'okay' to show. censorship at its worst!
17:20 January 20, 2010 by Tall swede
If it been a advert for perfume or something else, RFSL would have been the one screaming and demanding the advert to be censored. Either sesual images should be allowed to further someones interests or sales. Or it should not be allowed. But RFSL want naked bodies only should be allowed to spread their agenda and views. The definition of allowed adverts depends on the advertisers being RFSL or not.
17:37 January 20, 2010 by byke
good !

How thick does RFSL think the adult community is? we know there any different forms of sexuality ....but no children under 13 should be purposely exposed to sexually graphic material.
20:04 January 20, 2010 by Beynch
I agree with you byke. There is something called decency and decorum. We don't have to drag everything down to lowest common denominator. Fine, let them have their ad. But not in Sydsvenskan or in mainstream media, which is easily accessible to children.
20:04 January 20, 2010 by elektrisk564
Whom does RFSL think they're kidding? They need to open their eyes. This isn't promoting love or equality; it's promoting sex. I bet they wouldn't've dared send in that advertisement if it were three guys instead of three women. They know that the majority of viewers would LOVE seeing 3 women carress each other like that, so they sent it in claiming it promotes equality when really, they just want to gain the 'respect' of people in general (mainly straight men). Please.
20:08 January 20, 2010 by AnatoleEric
It's fascinating to see how quick people turn around and accuse RFSL of being manipulative and somehow at fault in any given situation. It shows that bigotry and ignorance is alive and well in Sweden. I think it's mostly (except in the cases of moronic newspapers like Sydsvenskan and City) a loud and unpleasant minority. Most just don't care.
20:25 January 20, 2010 by vladd777
And then we are 'shocked' when children commit rape at age 10 and lower! Anyway I'm glad the Swedes I know are your normal, average meat and potatoes types. At least i don't feel stripped when in their company!
20:27 January 20, 2010 by elektrisk564
For your information AnatoleEric, I'm a gay male, and am no where near ignorant. I stick by what I said, though.

vladd, what does this have to do with rape? I'm 100% certain that those women look willing.
20:48 January 20, 2010 by wxman
It's not "censorship" unless the government does it. Private enterprises such as newspapers can run ads they choose, or not. It's none of your business or anyone elses what the newspapers choose to run. That concludes today's lesson in democracy.
20:49 January 20, 2010 by someoneonthenet

They have ads featuring males.
20:51 January 20, 2010 by Tall swede
RFSL have to choose, either forcing sexual images on the public is ok, or not. They cant clam that someone elses sexual preferences are harmful (lingerie ads) and then still be able to promote their views on how sexuality should be. And RFSL had a paedophile department in the 70's that did the same promotion for their sexuality. Im all for lesbian love. And gay love. And straight love. I dont like their hypocrisy that they should be allowed to promote their sexuality to everyone, and then stop others from doing the same thing.
21:29 January 20, 2010 by byke
The problem is RFSL continues to believe they are helping break down barriers and bring issues to light through such sensationalism. The downside is I believe that this is not appropriate to expose young children to this.

A childs time will come in terms of sexuality, and it is irresponsible to believe we need to expose children to these type of graphic media at such a young age.
21:39 January 20, 2010 by Amber Dawn
That ad is absolutely meant to titillate. If they were going trying to convey love, why not have just two women in the ad? The three women may be head over heels in love, but that's not the message. (For the record, I am a lesbian.)
22:00 January 20, 2010 by Nemesis
I personally agree with gay marriage.

I do believe gays should have the right to pay divorce lawyers like the rest of us.

As for RFSL, I am very suspicious of anyone in that organisation. I don't believe it is the best thing for gays to be represented by RFSL. They should form a better organisation that will campaign for LGB rights, not every lunatic cmapaign that comes along.
22:32 January 20, 2010 by zircon
And what about their parents?
22:47 January 20, 2010 by Aureliano Buendia
the motto of the Ad is LOVE has many faces, but not Sexual preference has many faces... Oral sexual intercourse among three women can not be considered as the description of Love...
01:07 January 21, 2010 by laura ka baal
They said No today to make it Yes Tomorrow, what a culture its a Shame.
01:38 January 21, 2010 by krrodman
Let us not forget that this is a marketing campaign for RFSL. It is an advertisement for their cause, no different than McDonalds trying to sell more hamburgers.

I find it interesting that they picked 3 women in sexual repose. Men love to watch women make love, so at least half of the population will be attracted to the ad. I doubt if the average male will care about the intended message - the sex is message enough.

On the other hand, you will never see an ad with 3 men in sexual repose. Heteros of both sexes find explicit male sex a bit disconcerting, if not repulsive. No surprise at all that RFSL chose women. Great choice, as far as I am concerned.
04:21 January 21, 2010 by Buccaneer

Sounds like your feelings got hurt because it was not three guys in the ad?

Well, the bottom line is that this is going too far. I would not in my wildest imagination want any kid to be exposed to this.

What happened to good old decency?

Another Example of Political Correctness Run Amok in Sweden.

Do whatever you like in your privacy I do not care, but do not subject everyone to stuff like this.

Good call for deeming this inappropriate for publication!!!
07:31 January 21, 2010 by Frobobbles
Would they dare show one guy three women
08:19 January 21, 2010 by michcas
I think this is a horrible display of gay men trying to make lesbians look like them. Stay with portaying yourselfs like the sex minded individuals you are but leave lesbians out of it!
09:52 January 21, 2010 by sometimetoquestion
Is that a good sign that a newspapper does not want to promote antilfe behaviour? The ABUSE of sexuality and the ignorance of the USE of sexuality MUST get an opportunity to be debated. However seems those who "go down" on one another are in denial of what they do.

We consider if a person is what the person eats, why are we concerned about the symptoms of only part of what we put in?

How unneccessarily "sophisticated" IS SEXUALITY TO BE. I personally think it is extreamly vain to have idiots who are alive and CAN have an opinion CANNOT recognize OR SIMPLY APPRECIATE WHAT THEY ARE A RESULT OF.

There clear worthlessness make them go promote "antilfeism". Check article of sensible partners.

However all are homosexuals nowadays, it is in the behaviour not who you "do" it with. Understood. Any other logics are a sign of a persons indoctrination-


10:08 January 21, 2010 by Alias
I'm against all forms of discrimination.

I'm also open minded and don't care what each one does in their bedrom, just as long as it stays there...

Why should me and my children be forced to see on major newpapers and prime-time tv people having group sex?

They claim the add is about love..., therefore one can only assume that they are in fact advocating bigamy. Maybe in the next campaing they will focus on human-animal love and we all be forced to watch a man having sex with his poodle!

Like my grandmother used to say: basic common sense is a rare commodity!
10:46 January 21, 2010 by DAVID T
They should have used real lesbians instead of actors - oh I don't feel well
12:00 January 21, 2010 by zircon
The angle of love, tck, tck, tck...
05:27 January 22, 2010 by Amber Dawn

I have no idea what you just said.
13:32 January 22, 2010 by alisonashley
Come on people...Are you not sick and tired of any and all kinds of sex adds abruptly intruding privacy and invading space. I for one am sick of it - you cant even watch a "family film" without another persons ass thrown in your face on commercial break. I do not want to see your ass and if your product was attached to it I will band your product.
18:03 January 22, 2010 by Gwrhyr
I just wanted to say that I don't think this ad is inappropriate for children - there are no private parts being shown. I think most of the people responding to this article are uptight and ought to smoke a little weed sometime.
07:32 January 23, 2010 by treetri88
I just want to put in my two cents. As a gay man in his young 20s, I'm not certain that I would like kids younger than 10 years old viewing these photos. It does confirm the threadbare stereotype that gay men and women enjoy having "threesomes" and that all are promiscuous. If the people of this gay organization want to paint gay people in a better picture, they should start looking at something else, instead of showing three naked women in erotic stereotype affirming poses.
09:00 January 26, 2010 by Rebel
Okay, when I saw the print ad I thought that perhaps the producer of the pic had a point to make, but when I clicked on the YouTube link it appeared the point was porn.
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