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IKEA slammed for ‘sexist’ ad about women without boyfriends

IKEA executives who couldn’t put together why an ad was sexist have apologized.

The Sweden-based furniture company issued an apology over a commercial that aired in China showing a young woman being scolded by her mother for not having a boyfriend.

An IKEA ad in which a woman appeases her parents with a boyfriend has been slammed as sexist.


Though now pulled, the ad is still available online and shows the mom’s anger being assuaged as a man appears in the door. It all takes a lighter turn with some help from IKEA goods.

“This TV ad tried to show how IKEA can help customers easily and affordably convert a typical living room into a place of celebration. The purpose was to encourage customers to celebrate moments in everyday life,” the company said in an English statement, also given in Mandarin.

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“IKEA encourages people to live many different lifestyles, and this is reflected in our product design and home furnishing solutions. Gender equality is a fundamental part of the IKEA culture and values, which we share with everybody.”

The ad itself had been slammed for sexism, with local site Shanghaiist citing a social media user who said it encouraged Chinese shame toward the so-called “leftover women.”

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IKEA has apologized for the ad and pulled it.

(LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)

“Every time my mom sees this ad, she complains to me about why I haven’t found a boyfriend. This ad ruins my relationship with my family,” the woman said.

Another reportedly said “What’s most ironic is that IKEA comes from Sweden, a country that values gender equality. I dare them to show this ad to their headquarters in Sweden.”

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