The University of Adelaide has distanced itself from an advertisement that has made headlines around the world and attracted criticism and ridicule on social media, with some users accusing it of condoning so-called ‘mansplaining’.
The ad on hoardings outside the old Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) site features an image of five young women surrounding a young man who, with arms raised, is apparently in the act of uttering an idea of great importance.
Next to it on the same billboard is the university’s logo, and the image itself carries official SA Government labelling.
The photo posted on Instagram was brought to prominence by local account S–tAdelaide, which commented that the “innovative education precinct” now appeared to be offering a “Master of Mansplaining”.
The term ‘mansplaining’ is now widely used to refer to a man explaining something to a woman in a way that is considered patronising, arrogant or condescending.
“I’ve been walking past this poster for months and wondering what the hell the marketing people responsible for this were thinking,” one user remarked.
“How was this image approved?” another said, while another suggested “it was a room of men who came up with that ad”.
But others were not as unforgiving, with some adopting a more irreverent tone.
“How do you know it is a man? How can you decide gender by appearance?” one said.
Ad wasn’t approved by uni
One of Britain’s highest-circulation newspapers, Metro, and the BBC have both reported on the ad.
But a university spokesperson said the ad was not linked to the university, and that the people depicted were not from the institution.
“The hoarding in which that image appears belongs to Renewal SA, not the university,” the spokesperson said.
“The photo of the hoarding has been deliberately angled and cropped to suggest that the image is directly related to the university, which it is not.”
Renewal SA is the government’s development body responsible for projects, including the old RAH site.
“Our logo is part of a separate image, which has been cropped out,” the university’s spokesperson said.
“The photo in question on the Renewal SA hoarding is not a university image. It was not supplied by us. It was not approved by us. The people depicted in that photo are not university people.”
Once completed, the redeveloped old RAH site will become an arts and education precinct, and will house the University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning.