Singapore’s Strip under fire for comparing orangutans to unshaven women in Chinese ads

Singapore waxing boutique Strip’s advertisements featuring orangutans. Photos: Strip: Ministry of Wax
Singapore waxing boutique Strip’s advertisements featuring orangutans. Photos: Strip: Ministry of Wax

Singapore-based waxing boutique chain Strip: Ministry of Wax has been called out for implying that women who have body hair are like orangutans in advertisements for their Chinese outlets that generated negative online buzz last week.

The ads show hairy orangutans next to hairless models. In one of them, a sad orangutan poses next to a smiling woman wearing the same dress. Another shows an orangutan jumping into a lake with two bikini models.

Reports said the posters were first spotted at Shanghai’s Xin Tian Di Plaza shopping center, which houses one of the city’s Strip outlets. It was then circulated and criticized on popular Chinese social media platforms Weibo and Douyin.

Chinese users said the advertisements were “inappropriate” and that the brand was “belittling and objectifying” women.

Strip has used images of orangutans in their advertisements in Singapore without issue. The hairy apes have been used in their marketing collateral for more than a decade.

They even used the same poster to celebrate International Women’s Day and another similar one for Mother’s Day in 2017.

An unnamed Shanghai Strip employee told South Morning China Post that the criticized posters were supplied by Singapore and that since the brand cannot showcase hairier individuals, they resorted to using animals instead.

Strip said in a statement yesterday that this conversation may have been “fabricated” and are investigating.

They added that they have decided to stop using orangutans in their ads, at least in mainland China and Hong Kong.

The orangutan is the brand’s mascot inspired by Singapore’s affection for the animal and “not a comparison to the female form,” Strip said. 

Strip opened in Singapore in 2002 and has expanded to numerous Asian cities including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Manila, Mumbai, Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

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