German lens manufacturer ZEISS has issued an apology to its customers for a recent advert that featured a female model holding one of its recently released lenses.
On June 28, ZEISS tweeted a trio of images showing an anime model dressed as the Disney character Ariel striking affectionate poses with the new ZEISS Otus 100mm f/1.4 lens.
The images stirred up a little resentment online, as many viewers felt the images reinforced gender stereotypes — men deploy expertise to use expensive, sophisticated equipment, while women sit and look pretty — that felt out of place in 2019. “If Ariel chose it, maybe have her use it with a camera rather than make her sit like a prop,” came one suggestion.
Shot at Animefest in Brno, Czech Republic, the image was given a caption and presented in a manner that was judged to be associating itself with outdated gender stereotypes that the camera industry occasionally struggles to shake off. Few would have objected to the model posing for the camera, but to be reduced to a fleshy prop to make a product look attractive was felt by some to be inappropriate.
ZEISS later issued an apology:
In a field that is largely dominated by men and the male gaze, should manufacturers be more aware of the attitudes of their customers? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.