P&G Slammed Online For Ad Claiming Women’s Feet Smell “Five Times Worse” Than Men’s

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American consumer goods corporation, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has caused a stir online after posting an infographic to its social media account in China which claimed women’s feet smelt “five times worse” than men’s.

The South China Morning Post reported the company had shared the odorous infographic on its WeChat account (China’s immensely popular multi-purpose social media app) on March 13, which the original intent to advertise a body cleansing set of five seperate products.

However, the post made several scientifically questionable claims about female hygiene, including that women have five times the number of sweat glands in their feet than their male counterparts.

The advertisement (shown below) also claimed women generally disregard wearing socks, which can result in their shoes becoming “sauna rooms”. But that’s not all.

Source: South China Morning Post

According to P&G’s miasmic ad, women’s feet produce six times the number of bacteria than men’s feet.

The ad also claimed women’s chests have the “strongest smell”, and that women’s underwear is dirtier than men’s, even for “women who pay close attention to personal hygiene”.

Unsurprisingly, the WeChat community wasn’t too impressed by the multinational company’s unscrupulous claims.

“The advertisement is a form of mind control: humiliating women while still making money from them. By the way, do these allegations have any scientific data to support them?” South China Morning Post reported one user commenting.

“The advertisement shows P&G looks down on women. I will boycott its products,” commented another user.

However, P&G didn’t apologise nor respond to the backlash until last Thursday, 24 March, 11 days after it initially removed the controversial advertisement.

“We sincerely apologise for the advertisement’s inappropriate content, which disrespected women,” P&G said in a statement.

“P&G always advocates equal, tolerant and respectful values. We have deleted this advertisement and started overhauling this WeChat account.”

Of course, several studies discredit the claims made by P&G, including a 2010 study conducted by scientists at Osaka International University and Kobe University, which found that during exercise women have to work harder than men to begin sweating, while men are more “efficient sweaters”.

“Women generally have less body fluid than men and may become dehydrated more easily,” said study coordinator, Yoshimitsu Inoue.

“Therefore the lower sweat loss in women may be an adaptation strategy that attaches importance to survival in a hot environment, while the higher sweat rate in men may be a strategy for greater efficiency of action or labour.”

This isn’t the first time China’s advertising industry has been criticised for its less-than-favourable representation of women.

In 2021, an advertisement for Chinese company, Purcotton’s makeup remover wipes similarly caused a stir among online viewers.

The ad showed a young woman using the wipes to remove makeup from her face in order to frighten and scare off a would-be attacker.

“How can you make fun of a woman being followed,’ a Weibo (China’s answer to Twitter) user wrote.

Purcotton apologised and removed the ad.

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