Antigua: ‘Promo boys considered homosexual’

Antigua Observer:-  The idea of male brand ambassadors, commonly called ‘Promo Boys,’ is frowned on in large swarths of the community because of perceived homosexual overtones.

That is the opinion of Sarah-Anne Gresham,author of the research on sexual harassment of women in the brand promotion industry.

According to Gresham, when former and current brand ambassadors were asked about the concept of ‘Promo Boys,’ some were receptive to the idea although most believed that men in the industry will be subjected to homophobia.

“When I put forward the question of promo boys, they were okay with it, some were uncomfortable with the idea, however, most of them cited homophobia,” she said on OBSERVER AM.

She said that this is a part of the legitimisation of the “male gaze”- the belief that promotional advertisements must be based on what men consider attractive.

“In gender studies, there is a concept called the male gaze. If you look at fetes and you look at the photographers, most of them are men. When you look at the subject of the photographs, it is always the women being sexualised,” she said, questioning why women’s view of what is attractive are not considered.

According to Gresham, the male gaze has also had an impact on how marketing companies hire promo girls. She said that many marketing companies will often hire girls based on the idealised view of what males will find attractive.

“A lot of [people] say that if you don’t fit a certain standard that certain marketing organisations have, then you wouldn’t be called upon,” she said, adding that promo girls must be “voluptuous, she could be big but she has to be shapely… [and] should be high-coloured, light-skinned with hair that closely resembles Caucasian hair.”

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