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Chinese university forced to drop sexualized advert after being accused of objectifying women to entice freshmen

Nanjing University (NJU) has come under fire after it launched an advertising campaign for new students, featuring attractive female pupils holding suggestive signs. The advert has since been removed following a backlash.

Located in Jiangsu province, NJU – one of China’s top universities – was compelled to take the recruitment advert down after being accused of objectifying women to entice freshmen. 

The advert featured six students posing around the university’s campus, holding placards with inviting messages, some of which were deemed overly suggestive. 

Signs held aloft by young female students included the slogans: “Do you want to live at the library with me, from morning till night?” and “Do you want me to become part of your youth?”

Other photos, notably those featuring male students, did not include such suggestive or sexualized text. One read: “Do you want to become an honest, diligent and ambitious NJU student?”

The advert has caused a backlash on social media sites including Weibo and Twitter, with many labelling the move as “disgusting” and asking who thought this would be a good idea. “Whoever made this decision has thrown both the university’s reputation and all the female students under the bus,” one person wrote. Another added that the advert explains the university’s decline in the international rankings. 

Others slammed the university for turning its female students into “resources” or “prostitutes.” “This environment is completely rotten… Nanjing University regards female students as a ‘recruitment resource’. It smells like recruiting prostitutes,” one Twitter account said. In a further reference to prostitution, another asked how much it costs to hang out in the library from morning till night. 

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One person reworked the placard slogan, suggesting it should read: “You have money, wait for me in your bed,” while another crudely asked, “If you can’t get her, can you sue Nanjing University for fraud?”

NJU is one of the top public universities in China, and it ranked 131st in the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings 2022.

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