In a land where thongs are flip-flops and g-bangers are thongs, we find ourselves getting a little confused at times with what means what around here. So it’s nice to know that Brits get mixed up too, with UK TV personality and personal stylist, Gok Wan, finding himself in hot water after referring to women’s breasts as ‘bangers’ in an Australian TV ad. The term is commonly used to describe boobs in England, but is only really used as slang for sausages Down Under.
The blunder appears in an advert for a new bra-fitting service at Australian retailer, Target. The star also refers to women’s breasts as “assets”, causing a large number of complaints to the retailer, saying the terms are “demeaning to women” and made them sound like “pieces of meat”.
Wan, who is openly (and rather obviously) homosexual, is known for his affectionate terms for women’s breasts and bodies in his TV programme How to Look Good Naked, but it seems his phrasing has been lost in translation in Australia, where he is not as well known.
One angry viewer stated, “I have never heard another woman, or man for that matter, refer to women’s breasts as bangers, bangers are a slang term for a sausage; I do not want my breasts referred to as meat.”
The Advertising Standards Bureau [ASB] investigated the advert and asked Target to respond to complaints.
The retailer said: “The term ‘bangers’ is used in wry acceptance that not everyone thinks about their breasts in positive terms. It is an irreverent term of affection. It is not designed to be derogatory or objectify women or degrade them in any way. It does not suggest that breasts are meat.
“‘Bangers’ is more commonly used in the UK than in Australia, where ‘boobs’ is probably more familiar. Because the term ‘bangers’ is less familiar in Australia, this lack of familiarity in Australia will be taken into account and the term ‘boobs’ may be substituted in some advertising.”
The ASB dismissed the complaints, saying: “The Board considered that the overall tone of the advertisement is positive and light-hearted.
“The Board considered the term ‘bangers’ and recognised that some members of the community may be offended by the reference to women’s breasts as bangers. The Board considered that the word is not commonly used in Australia in this manner but that in this instance it is not used in a derogatory way and that the use of the term bangers is one that is used by Gok as part of his programs and persona.
“The Board considered that the term “bangers” is not inappropriate and not strong or obscene language in this context.”