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Tokyo transit ad says women who apply makeup on the subway are ‘ugly’

October 28, 2016

A private Japanese railway company has released a video claiming that women who apply makeup on the subway are “ugly,” The Washington Post Reports.

The ad, which is part of a video series on proper subway etiquette by the Tokyu Corporation, shows two young women putting on makeup in a train car. Another passenger, played by actress Sawa Nimura, mumbles, “Women in the big city are all beautiful. But they can be ugly sometimes.” She then jumps up and begins to sing, “Why can’t you do it before you get on the train? Your eyebrows restored and eyelashes multiplied, your transformation is witnessed.”

Shaming women for engaging in a behavior that is, in all likelihood, intended to help them get to work on time runs counter to an initiative by the Japanese government, which seeks to draw more women into the workforce. A steep gender pay gap and entrenched hostility towards women in the workforce has meant that just 63 percent of working-age Japanese women have jobs.

The gendered language of the advertisement also drew criticism. “I can understand it if Tokyu’s ad asks me to stop putting makeup on because makeup powder might spill over or its smell bothers others,” Twitter user @ryudokaoruko wrote, according to The Japan Times. “But a railway company has no right to tell me whether I look beautiful or ugly.”

The tweet has been shared more 5,800 times. But the Tokyu Corporation will not withdraw the ad. “We have actually received more positive feedback than negative,” said Masayuki Yanagisawa, a Tokyu spokesman.

Read more at The Washington Post.



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