Angry customers slam IKEA’s ‘sexist’ ad

It’s one of our happy places when it comes to accidentally dropping a ridiculous amount of money on homewares, but IKEA might want to rethink their marketing strategy after being accused of sexist with their latest catalogue.

Outraged customer Alex Baxevanis was stunned to flick through the furniture giant's latest catalogue to discover the ad for a suction cup toothbrush holder, which boasted that customers could “leave your drill in your man drawer”.

"It sounds like something out of the 1950s making a reference to a 'man drawer',” said London-based web designer Alex.

IKEA catalogue 2018 sexist

Alex and Ania are outraged at the outdated ad. Photo: Mercury Press

"It struck me as ridiculous, my drill doesn't live in a 'man drawer' it's used equally by me and my wife.

"Ania's not afraid to pick up a drill and do things within the house. If anything she's more creative than me when it comes to that sort of thing.

"I expect better from Ikea. They generally champion environmental and other worthy issues and then they print this – this particular wording looks really out of whack.”

With Ania and Alex recently moving into a new flat, Alex admits he was looking forward to flicking through the new catalogue but decided to take stand when he saw the ad.

"I feel with things like this people should call it out when they see them. If no-one mentions anything it's only going to keep on happening in the background,” he says.

"I think everybody should do their bit to challenge stereotypes.”

His wife Ania Mendrek readily agrees, with the couple calling for the online version of the ad to be amended.

"I think it's a case of everyday sexism, at the very least it's left open to interpretation,” she said.

IKEA catalogue furniture

The offending ad, which Alex wants changed online. Photo: Mercury News

"A 'man drawer' may well be a colloquial term, but there are lots of phrases that are colloquial that we are appalled to use – should we keep them because they are colloquial regardless of their being sexist?"

Alex contacted the retail giant over social media and was told that his feedback would be passed on.

IKEA have since responded with a spokesperson saying they’re dedicated to promoting equality, and it was never their intention to offend with the ad.

"At IKEA we believe strongly in equality and that people should be treated equally regardless of their age, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, marital or family status, or any other dimension of their identity,” said Country Marketing Manager at IKEA UK & Ireland, Laurent Tiersen.

Outrage over IKEA's furniture catalogue 2018

Ania knows her way around a drill as much as Alex does. Photo: Mercury Press

"We can confirm that in our 2018 catalogue we use the phrase 'leave your drill in your man drawer' to explain that drilling isn't necessary with our STUGVIK storage containers with suction cups.

"In using this phrase, we are drawing on the common colloquial term 'man drawer' as a place where tools may be kept.

"It is never our intention to offend anyone with our marketing material, however we understand how this could be interpreted and will of course take this input as feedback for future material."

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