An ad featuring a Hollywood star dressed in a schoolgirl outfit inviting female law students to "network" their way to the top has been slammed as sexist by women lawyers.
The latest edition of student magazine Lex, published by the New Zealand Law Students Association (LSA), shows actress Blake Lively in character as private school girl Serena van der Woodsen from the United States television show Gossip Girl in a provocative pose.
It comes with the tagline: "She didn't become a good lawyer by spending hours in the library . . . She networked her way to the top."
The ad then invites law students to "Join the NZLSA Facebook page. NOW."
But the LSA insists the ad is satirical despite receiving international condemnation on social media.
The advertisement was re-posted on US-based Facebook page "Wipeout Sexism on FB" this week, drawing immediate reaction.
Many asked whether Lively had given her permission for the image to be used, while others slammed New Zealand's attitude to gender equality.
"OMG, I can't believe that's my country, how shameful," Geraint Scott posted.
"I was not aware that see-through shirts and cleavage was the trademark of a good lawyer in New Zealand. Apparently I have a lot to learn about their judicial system," said Majken Aune Olsen.
So; what does this have to do with the price of fish? Read on, and it will begin to become clear (with our emphasis added):
Professor Margaret Wilson, a former attorney-general and current deputy dean of Waikato law school, told the Waikato Times the ad was "disrespectful of women law students who in my experience work so hard to achieve their law degrees".
Waikato University morals and ethics lecturer Tracey Bowell said the ad was "absolutely" sexist and demeaning towards women.
"I doubt that an image of a male law student would be used in similar fashion," she said.
Hamilton-based Labour MP Sue Moroney was also unimpressed with the advertisement.
"[The LSA] isn't likely to attract many female members with this archaic approach.
"If they are planning to be the student equivalent of the ‘old boys network' then they will become increasingly irrelevant, as there are now more females than males with tertiary qualifications."
Ms Moroney said the association needed to modernise if it wanted to remain relevant.
"Women are bored with being the butt of these ‘old boy' jokes and we don't have to put up with it any more."
Professor Margaret Wilson of course was Dr Lockwood Smith's predecessor as Speaker of Parliament. Our opinion of her Speakership has been well canvassed here; let's just say that Lockwood Smith has been a quantum leap in terms of an improvement the role.
As for Sue Moroney; does Labour's hypocrisy know no bounds? Ms Moroney might have had a case, had it not been for Dr Judy McGregor's speech to the Labour Party conference two weeks ago where she described Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson who is openly gay as a "queen". As the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, Dr McGregor's comment was totally inappropriate, but we are willing to bet that Ms Moroney laughed along with everyone else.
Labour is laughing still because Judy McGregor's disgraceful comment has flown under the MSM radar whilst Labour feigns outrage at John Key and Paula Bennett. The sight of Trevor Mallard, one of Parliament's worst-behaved MP's over a long period claiming offence at Ms Bennett's comment on Thursday was rather like watching a vegetarian licking their lips after eating a juicy fillet steak.
And if Tracey Bowell wants to find something that is really "demeaning to women" perhaps she should look at the decision taken at the Labour Party conference to require every LEC in the country to comprise at least 50% of women. Women in the 21st century don't need to be patronised and demeaned by the Labour Party; they stand on their own merits, and do so with considerable success. If anything is archaic, it is the imposition of mandatory quotas.
Once again, the left-leaning media is quick to highlight "offences" by the Right or by the establishment. It's high time that New Zealand's media dropped the pretence of neutrality, and gave all cases of offence equal treatment, regardless of how embarrassed the Labour Party might be.