Bonds withdraws all ‘bra like’ products in girls sizes 6 and 8
A Victory for people power.
Only three days ago, Collective Shout started a campaign against the latest bra product for girls aged 6. ‘More Bonds Bras for little girls’ can be read here
This sparked three days of activism from our members and media engagement including this News Ltd piece. Adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg and Julie Gale from Kids Free 2B Kids also added their voices to the campaign.
And so did Trinny and Susanna who labelled the bras child abuse.
Yesterday Bonds announced it was withdrawing this product and all bras and bra-related products for girls under 10.
Virginia Haussegger is right to lament the status of women in other countries and the brutalities and indignities they suffer daily.
But attitudes towards women in our own so-called liberated western democracy desperately need an overhaul as well.
While I frequently write about the objectification of women and girls, this issue has been unrelenting of late. Sexism is alive and well. Is it really the 21st century?
Lynx sexual performance in Martin Place
Last Thursday global brand Unilever staged a ‘Pop-up spadate’ in Sydney’s Martin Place to promote its ‘man-cation’ travel destination, the Lynx Lodge. Young bikini-clad women splashed about in a hot tub. The amply breasted models had shower gel splattered across their chests (a reference to ejaculation, for those unfamiliar with the porn genre).
Nina Funnell described the scene in The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday:
“… Martin Place was transformed into something resembling a cheap porn filmset…The hot tub was placed on a raised platform, blocked off by rails. Male suits pulled out iPhones to take photos through the rails…Other Lynx models pranced around in tiny French maid outfits. Another had set up a masseuse table and was busy giving a semi-naked man a massage. Unsurprisingly men ogled the women, slapping each other on the back, while making comments like “she’s a bit of all right” or “I wouldn’t mind a bit of that”. I felt like I’d walked into a middle aged man’s seedy buck’s night. It was 9am on a Thursday morning.”
Did Sydney City Council and its female Lord Mayor approve this sexual display in the middle of Sydney city? No qualms about sending men off to work all aroused? No second thoughts about the message to boys that they are entitled to ogle women in public places?
The Lynx Lodge appears to be parent company Unilever’s foray into the sex industry, with all the trappings of a brothel without identifying it as such. “Lynx Lodge – Get Laid Back” declares the website:
“The ultimate man-cation destination to get you back to your primal roots”
“Get laid back, as lodge staff pamper you with breakfast in bed and on-the-spot massages”
“Golf range: Grab your wood”
“Pool hall: Scared of being beaten by a girl? Some of our guests quite enjoy it.”
“Ball Games: Teamwork is everything, so be sure to focus on your partner’s backside to make out her block signals.”
Women are advertised as ready to do a man’s bidding and to entertain and excite him.
A video ad shows young women lonely and desperate for men to arrive at the lodge. Helpless and passive, they need a man to serve and give them attention. One girl wades naked into the lake waiting for him to arrive.
You can see just how mainstream sexism has become. Woolworths is in bed with Lynx, co-branding in the promotion of borderline prostitution at the Lodge.
Yet Woolies claims a “high level of social responsibility”.
How is supporting a view of women as subservient sexual slaves acting responsibly? Woolies, the women-as-fresh-meat-people?
Does this look like one of your fresh food mums, Mr Michael Luscombe, Managing Director and CEO?
Evidence of the Lynx Effect can be found on its Facebook page.
“DO I WIN A BLONDE , NICE ASS , LARGE NATURAL BREASTS,NICE EYES ” asks one man. About the spa girls:
“you no [sic] that you would ruin that all night long”
The Gold Cost Turf Club: Parading women like animals
The Gold Coast Turf Club is planning a special summer carnival in which women in bikinis take the place of horses. Herded into horse barrier stalls, they will be released to sprint down the straight for a prize.
The entry form calls entrants “mares and fillies”. The club takes no responsibility for “injury or death”. Women must wear a bikini and “acceptable running shoes”. Of course, her feet must be supported but her breasts need be free to bounce around for the entertainment of male punters.
The responses from Women in Racing and the Brisbane Women’s Club were lamentably weak. Women in Racing Director Jennifer Bartels said: ”We love anyone who will promote racing, but perhaps this isn’t quite racing. Good luck to them though.” Good luck to them?
Turf Club CEO Andrew Eggleston wants to see elite sportswomen take part. Just not in their usual sportswear.
Calvin Klein violent billboards
Then I was sent this billboard image from a woman in Sydney. Another example of violence against women being promoted as sexy, with intimations of the gang rape of an inanimate young woman. Where the hell is the Advertising Standards Board on this and others like it?
Yesterday my sister contacted me from Byron Bay about the three Wicked Campers she’d just seen with slogans: “Jugs” “Random Breast Testing” and “Shaved Pussy” across their vans. Sexism on wheels.
Everywhere they look, women and girls get the message that they exist for male gratification and pleasure. Their reason for being is to serve men and meet their every need. They should enjoy sexual harassment.
Fortunately there is a grassroots uprising against this. You can find it at www.collectiveshout.org. We’ve had enough. Vive la revolution.
But what is new is the discovery that Lynx has the support of one of the world’s biggest supermarket chains – Woolworths. Is Woolies to be known as the women-as-fresh-meat people?
Prostitute-like services at the Lynx Lodge
Described as the ‘ultimate man-cation’, the Lynx Lodge appears to be parent company Unilever’s foray into the sex industry. The lodge seems to have all the trappings of a brothel, without explicitly identifying itself as such. “Lynx Lodge – Get Laid Back” declares the website.
“The ultimate man-cation destination to get you back to your primal roots.”
“Get laid back, as lodge staff pamper you with breakfast in bed and on-the-spot massages.”
“Golf range: Grab your wood.”
“Pool hall: Scared of being beaten by a girl? Some of our guests quite enjoy it.”
“Ball Games: Teamwork is everything, so be sure to focus on your partner’s backside to make out her block signals.”
The Lynx Effect site presents provocatively dressed women (including in busty maid outfits) ready to do a man’s bidding, entertain and excite him. Emma, for example, is a “great cook” and “can do the splits – what more could you ask for?”
A video ad on the site shows a number of young women lonely and desperate for men to arrive at the lodge. Helpless and passive, they have no man to serve, therefore no meaning in life. One girl takes off her clothes and wades naked into the lake waiting for him to arrive.
Another video shows more women in sexually inviting poses and scenes. While called ‘hospitality staff’, the message is they will provide forms of sexual entertainment. Women are shown in wet t. shirts, borrowing from girls-gone-wild type themes.
“The concept of the Lodge is a play on popular male fantasy, so the girls are there to hang out and ensure Lodge guests have fun,” Lynx spokeswoman Laura O’Donnell told the Courier Mail.
She claimed all activities would happen in open public areas and that Lynx security staff would keep a watchful eye on everything. Does that include in the master bedroom where the site promises lodge staff will tuck you in and prepare you for sweet dreams?
Lynx draws attention to the backsides and cleavage of their models, but doesn’t expect any physical engagement? What about sleazy jerks who come expecting the girls to get their kit off, and try to grope them? Male visitors are primed to expect compliance, with the models at the ready to cook and serve them breakfast after a ‘sexy wake-up call.’ The Lynx girls are represented as seeking – indeed desperate for – every kind of male attention.
What is in place to protect women from sexual assault at the lodge? Will they have panic buttons? (What if they’re in the boat?) Given that the place is spread out and there are many different activities each day, how will a woman’s safety be guaranteed?
Submission: telling her what you want her to do
The theme repeated over and over is that the Lynx Mynx is to be ‘told what to do’. Lynx comments on its Facebook pages suggest a voyeuristic web-cam scenario:
“… if you love Faye so much, you’ll tell her what to do”
“The videos get released tomorrow and we’ll reveal more Tom… basically imagine a big brother-style house with these girls and you have to vote for your favourite and give her stuff to do….”
”so yesterday we filmed the first things you told the Lynx Mynx to do… it was a lot of fun, video coming soon so watch this space, but here’s a couple of pics to give you a little taste…”
Unilever: real sexism not real beauty
In case you didn’t know, the Lynx brand is owned by Unilever which also owns the Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. Unilever is fueling borderline-prostitution of women through its Lynx brand while claiming to care about women’s true beauty and worth.
Trawling for business in Martin Place
Last Thursday Unilever took its Lynx Lodge promotion to Sydney’s Martin Place. The event featured young women in bikinis in a hot tub while men were offered massages on their way to work. Lynx shower gel was spread across the women’s breasts, in an image reminiscent of porn shoots. (Being linked with porn is no problem for Unilever, with cross promotions for Axe- the US version of Lynx- with Playboy models. For example “Watch how Playboy.com gets dirty and how they get clean with Axe shower gel”).
The event was described in ‘Time Out Sydney’ this way:
Lynx Lodge Pop-up SpaDate
Bikini-clad ladies, steaming hot tubs and on-demand massages sound like your thing? They’ll all be on offer at Martin Place for one day only to offer a sneak preview of the soon-to-come Lynx Lodge. The new all-male travel concept, located at Lake Macquarie and set to open in November this year, comes courtesy of the team behind its namesake, lady-wooing antiperspirant.
In the meantime, dudes can dive into one of the pop-up resort’s many spas along with a bevy of female beauties, or opt for a stress-relieving back rub from an accommodating hostess. Stop off on your way to work to take part in the ultimate boys’ trip draw – the chance for one guy and seven very lucky mates to initiate the first of many man-cations at the Lodge.
Did Sydney City Council have no qualms about approving this event? Were there any objections to offering sex-based entertainment in the middle of the street? Or should we expect to see more of this?
As Australia’s largest food retailer and second largest private employer, Woolworths recognises we have a high level of social responsibility, and we take these responsibilities seriously…
As a member of those communities we understand that we have a duty to be more than just a retail outlet, but to also make a positive impact on the societies that we serve. We work to the principle that we can never take our customers for granted – we need to earn their trust and respect and this means acting responsibly both inside and outside our stores.
How is supporting a view of women as subservient sexual slaves having a positive impact and acting responsibly? Does “high level of social responsibility” apply to the status of women in the community?
Does this look like one of your fresh food mum’s, Mr Michael Luscombe, Woolworths Managing Director and CEO?
Lynx – encouraging and rewarding sexist behaviour
Comments from men on the Lynx Facebook fan page show the effect of its advertising on them. Women are products to be won, they are ‘it’ or ‘that’ and judged mercilessly.
“DO I WIN A BLONDE , NICE ASS , LARGE NATURAL BREASTS,NICE EYES”
“you no that you would ruin that all night long”
“nah i seen better”
“she’s not that great”
On a pic of Jessica Simpson: “isn’t she a whale now?” “yeah she is”
On Scarlett Johannssen: “Scarlet get me a beer “
Lynx asks: “We thought it’s time we started talking about those annoying irritations when it comes to the dating game. Her clingy mates, the drunken brother, the barman that ignores you… what else shall we add to the list…?”
Jay Cooney: “the fuckin horrible moose that attempts 2 dance wit u”
Nathan Ireland: “The fat ugly mate that drags them away because she is upset the fittest bloke in the pub (besides us*) does not fancy her hippo-croc-a-pig ass!”
Allan Davison: “The fat friend”
And there you have it, the Lynx Effect, proudly supported by Unilever, Woolworths, Sydney City Council and maybe even Lake Macquarie Council.
The ultimate man-cation is, really, the ultimate objectification.
And even if the lodge is just a marketing ploy and not a real place, Unilever’s contemptuous attitude to women still comes through, loud and clear. Its campaign is a threat to the equality, freedom and wellbeing of all women.
Details on how to complain can be found here. We at Collective Shout are about to launch our Lynx Stynx campaign. Keep an eye on the Collective Shout website for more on this.
Bratz dolls have undergone a makeover. Apparently they are more ‘demurely’ dressed and have less makeup. While the dolls may be marginally less skankified in appearance (and it really is marginal), the values they project remain the same. As shown on the company’s website, the Bratz dolls are still presented as hot, thin and sassy, they like to “strut” and have a “passion for fashion” including 5-inch feet-crippling stiletto heels. They still convey a message to girls that their value is in their physical appearance, ability to attract (male) attention and buy into commercialised ideals about beauty and fashion. Here’s what I said about the so-called new-look Bratz on Channel 7’s Morning Show earlier this week.
Lovable: debate about company’s unlovable body image behaviour continues
My original blog post about Lovable , examining its claims to want to change the culture on body image while running a new ad campaign featuring ‘hot’ Jennifer Hawkins, continues to get airplay elsewhere. It got a run onOn Line Opinion yesterday.
Everybody’s Lovable, especially if thin, sexy and covered in icecream
According to its website, Australian underwear brand Lovable says it is “dedicated to changing the culture surrounding eating disorders and body image”. It does this “by using happy, healthy models in our campaigns and promotional activities and by continuing to design intimates that are not created to objectify women’s bodies …”
I’m sorry, but I’m a bit confused.
Because I don’t understand how you change the culture with advertising like this..
Whether it hurts the woman or not, the men don’t care
The sex industry done well at spinning prostitution as a positive good for all involved. This piece in The Irish Times cuts through the gloss and shows what life is like for many prostituted women (and there’s no reason to believe these experiences are limited to Ireland). Here’s an extract:
The release last week of the annual report from Ruhama, the charity for women affected by prostitution, triggered a mild flurry of curiosity about the lives of one of the most contentious groups in society.
Last year, these women “reported horrific levels of sexual, physical and emotional abuse”, said the charity’s chief executive, Sarah Benson. They were punched in the face, in the stomach, were kicked down stairs, beaten for refusing to have sex with men, were locked in, were refused food, were burned and bitten.
“Women were told by buyers that they were ‘ugly’, ‘not very good’, that they ‘should at least try to look like you’re enjoying it’ while their bodies were used in whatever way the buyer wished,” said Benson. Which means “turning yourself into a public toilet”, in the words of one former prostitute this week.
The notion of a mutually pleasurable, damage-free transaction – as promoted by the industry and supporters of legalisation – sits wildly at odds with the reality of these engagements. Were it not for the wreckage they leave behind, the self-delusion of the average sex buyer would be laughable. Read the full article here
Below is the letter, reprinted with permission, from a 15-year-old girl at a major girls high school in Sydney.
Her email came only a few hours after I addressed the 1000 girls attending this school. Lila’s letter provides us an intimate account of what it’s like to be a teen girl today. She writes profoundly about body images pressures, about pressure to be sexually active before being ready, about pressures from friends and society. And while much of what she expresses is cause for concern for anyone who is concerned about the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of girls, her words also contain hope.
Because Lila has decided to make her own way, according to her beliefs and values, and not let other people and the world choose her path. She has chosen to be strong and to resist and to find a better way for herself.
I asked Lila if I could share her letter with you. She said yes. We just changed her name to protect her a little.
You spoke at my school this morning and i was very shocked by the sexploitation around our communities. There is just so much of it, that we live by it without noticing sometimes. One thing you didn’t mention was how friends can pressure their other friends. I know this for a fact as i have not developed big boobs, and yet my friends find that it is important to point it out as if it was a bad thing…”Lila, no offence but you are so flat chested…”
I have developed an idea of what my body should be as most girls do…bigger boobs, shinny, perfect hair, absolute clear skin, and i have even thought about getting plastic surgery, as peer pressure has affected me. I’m only 15. But once you began to speak and i listened to how absolutely foolish i had been to fall into my friends traps and our societies trap of perfection i began to feel better about myself and i felt quite strongly about this subject.
Perhaps you haven’t heard this before, but being a member of my age group, or generation…i know that girls who are from 12 to 16 who have given blow jobs to boys as if it was normal to do so. I know this is wrong as my mum and I are very close and I grew up in Brazil, where I had never heard of such a thing. I think that, girls going through puberty, who have just entered the world of high school and teenage issues, they hear things about BLOW JOBS AND HAND JOBS AND SEXXX! And they are too afraid to ask their parents for advice in that area, and their friends don’t know any better, so they turn to magazines for advice (Dolly and Girlfriend) which are full of sexploitation and advice about boys and sex. Of course…those girls have no sense of right or wrong and sex becomes something that is totally natural to happen at their age…I have indeed asked my friends if they would give a boy a blowjob and some already have, and some say they would give into it with no hesitation.
Internet also helps this issue by miles. Porno is so easily found, and i have watched it once with my friends when i was 12. I thought: “I know nothing about it, and in a couple of years i’ll be expected to do something about it, so if i watch this i’ll know what sex is really like and what i’m meant to do.” I’m not the only one. There is millions of us, clueless teenagers that need some guidance, and if your parents won’t give it to you…WHO WILL?
In the next few years, I’ll be facing some issues such as sex and all, and before i felt as if i had to face that by the age of 16 or 17 to not be left out, I can now say…I’ll do it when I feel like it. There is no DUE DATE for it…I’m going to wait until i meet some very nice boy who respects me and loves me for who I am and for what I like and who is patient and caring enough to wait for me for as long as he needs to, because i can now see it all very clearly, it’s like you yanked a sheet off the secrets of “beauty” and released the inner feminist within me.
I probably have loads more to say, but it all escapes my mind right now.
Thank you so much for coming around and talking to us about it…My views have changed and my choices that i make will surely benefit from your speech today.
P.S. Do you have any ideas on what I should say the next time by friends bug me about my “flat chest”?
In the past couple of weeks I’ve met or heard from young girls whose experiences give further disturbing insight into just how bad things are for girls right now.
A 12-year-old girl approached me after I addressed the question ‘Are girls being treeated as sex objects?’ before an audience in Sydney’s western suburbs. She revealed she was being molested by boys at school. It had gone on every day for two weeks. She hadn’t told anyone. She asked the boys not to do it. They ignored her. Her eyes brimming with tears, she wanted to know how she could make it stop, or if that was even possible.
An 11-year-old girl in a NSW country town was the only one in her friendship group who had not yet had sex. Her friends had made arrangements for her to lose her virginity at the annual show. She didn’t feel she was ready and was looking for excuses she could give to get out of turning up. Was there any way out for her or would she have to give in?
Two 14-year-old girls told me about multiple unpleasant sexual hook-ups, pressured by older boys into acts they felt bad about after. They feared resisting and felt powerless to make it stop.
None of these girls seemed aware that they had a right not to be harassed, not to be molested and assaulted, not to be coerced into unwanted sexual activity. It was so common for themselves and their friends to be treated this way. And they feared repercussions, being ostracised, causing a ‘fuss’ and attracting attention for making a complaint.
Fortunately, a young policewoman had just introduced herself to me. She was able to assist the first girl. An educator was trying to help the second. And the 14-year-olds were looking at getting further help and advice.
What a world our girls are inhabiting. They are having to comprehend and negotiate difficult things at ages when they shouldn’t have to. They are being systematically preyed upon. Here are two more examples in as many days.
Porno pic cyber-bullying at ‘epidemic level’
CYBER-bullying is reaching epidemic levels, says a Melbourne youth worker, amid new claims about young girls being pressured to provide pornographic images of themselves.
Police are investigating a case at St Joseph’s College boys school in Geelong, in which it is believed a computer hacker stole an older student’s Facebook identity and then pressured a grade five pupil to provide pornographic images of himself to a Facebook “friend”…
Youth worker Les Twentyman has also revealed that he was told about a girl in year eight at a school in Victoria’s east recently being lured into performing sex acts with year 12 boys that were filmed and posted on the Internet. Read more.
Police warn on ‘juvie hunting’
POLICE and teachers have grave concerns about an emerging youth phenomenon dubbed “juvie hunting”, where older teenage boys groom younger girls for sex.
Sources say juvenile hunting is rife in Perth schools where boys aged 16 and 17 target younger teenage girls in a contest driven by popularity and status.
The Sunday Times understands that teachers at several Perth 2schools, including Sacred Heart College in Sorrento, lectured Year 12 boys about the possibility of criminal charges if they have sex with a girl younger than 16, the legal age of consent…
Police had received more reports of offences against children since mandatory reporting came into place last year.Read full story here.
Preyed upon and pressured to provide porn images. Preyed upon and molested. Preyed upon and forced to provide sex acts. Girls are targetted for all this at younger ages and many boys seems to think they are entitled to do whatever they like to them.
We have to turn this around. Girls need to be informed of their rights. They need to demand an end to this. And the boys who act in these ways need to know it is illegal. And if they don’t stop, those in authority over them must act quickly to make them see how serious this is and that there really are consequences.
I’d really like to hear less of these accounts. I’d like to hear some good stories from girls.
Melissa is another to write to Lovable to complain about its current Jennifer Hawkins ad campaign. What she has written is so important that I’m reprinting it from the Collective Shout website, where she posted her letter yesterday. How much more evidence does Lovable need that its current campaign is harmful and its claims to want to change the cultural on body image just don’t stand up?
The Lovable/Jen Hawkins/body image issue has now gone well beyond these humble blog pages.
I spent a significant part of yesterday being interviewed on the subject. Susie O’Brien gave it a good run both as a news piece and a comment piece spread across two pages in the Herald Sun. An extract from the first:
Lovable lingerie firm cops a serve over Jennifer Hawkins campaign
LOVABLE lingerie company has come under fire for using thin Jennifer Hawkins in a sexy campaign, while professing to help women combat poor body image.
The Australian underwear company says it is “dedicated to changing the culture surrounding eating disorders and body image” and wants to reverse “the influence of celebrity and model culture”.
And yet it is using the former Miss Universe extensively in its advertising.
The company is donating a quarter of online sales profits this month to The Butterfly Foundation, a body image issues and eating disorders support centre.
Women’s issues campaigner Melinda Tankard Reist, who first raised the issue on her website, said the company was hypocritical in its approach.
In a post on the issue she attacks the company for displaying “double standards around claiming to boost self-esteem in women and supporting positive body image, while acting in ways that undermine these messages”.
“It seems to me companies like Lovable are happy to spruik a ‘love your bodies, we’re all beautiful’ positive self-esteem message, while not doing all that much,” she said.
Jennifer Hawkins lingerie ploy is hypocrisy, says Susie O’Brien
TAKE a look at this saucy, sexy woman selling Lovable lingerie.
What part of this picture is helping improve young women’s body image, do you think?
In my view, absolutely nothing.
In fact, some women who have low self-esteem will feel worse about themselves when faced with these near-naked pictures of Jennifer Hawkins and her tall, slim, tanned body.
So it’s the height of hypocrisy for Australian lingerie company Lovable to try to buy credibility with female customers by donating 25 per cent of the online sales profits to The Butterfly Foundation.
In fact I think the campaign could be decidedly damaging to the very cause the foundation is committed to – helping women with eating disorders and body image problems.
And, it must be said, what the hell is The Butterfly Foundation doing accepting money from a lingerie company that uses a famously slim, busty model plastered all over its advertising? Read full piece here
It’s because we’re jealous and stuffing our face with cheezels
These stories and coverage elsewhere outraged Jen Hawkins fans, who accused me – and those who agreed with me- of being fat, lazy, jealous, ugly slobs (among the words which were printable). Jen was hot, hot hot and I needed to get more exercise. Some of my personal faves from the Herald Sun comments section:
“Here we go again, someone who’s years are past them, and gravity has taken over having a good old whinge again”.
”Let me guess…Melinda is fat”
“People like Melinda Tankard are why girls and women now think it is ok to be fat, overweight, and unhealthy”.
“…more complaints from fat and overweight women that would rather die on their sofa eating cheezels and watching reality TV”
These comments brought to mind this piece by Dannielle Miller about how it’s so much easier to insult and ridicule someone you disagree with than to engage the arguments.
Not fit to be loved
But these were more than outweighed by intelligent and thoughtful comments. Like this, also in HS comments:
[Comment From Peter]
My daughter has an eating disorder, and while Jen Hawkins is beautiful, it sends the wrong message to her, to associate Jen Body image with the Butterfly foundation.
And this from Tabitha, in blog comments on my site
OK, having read the comments on this article I feel compelled to add my two and sixpence. I’d like to add that as backup for some of the things I’m about to say – I used to be a personal trainer, and I am currently a doctor.
Firstly I completely agree with the article about the hypocrisy of Lovable sponsoring the Butterfly Foundation. The fact that you can click on the Lovable link on the BF website and be taken to an ad with Jen Hawkins slinking all over the place covered in icecream just absolutely astounds me.
And for those who don’t understand why it’s a problem if the company are providing finance for a good cause, this is why: I’m not talking about people who are carrying a bit of extra weight. I’m talking about eating disorders. People who have eating disorders suffer daily under the feeling that they are not thin enough or attractive enough to be loved or desired. They feel this to such an extent that people throw up or starve themselves until they die over trying to get thin enough. Organisations like the Butterfly Foundation are designed to be a place of safety and support for people who feel this way, one voice telling them that being their own weight is ok and is good enough as long as they are healthy. And that the purpose of their existence is not to be attractive – it’s to enjoy their own life. Lovable is a company which both exploits women as sexual objects to sell products, and represents Jennifer Hawkins as its ideal. Even their “fuller figure DD” bras are sold with pictures of people with JH type of body. For the BF to associate with this company tells people with body image issues (and in fact all of us) that this is what it considers a healthy body, and that it has no problem with the sexualisation of women. This is an enormous betrayal of those the Butterfly Foundation claims to support…
People are tending toward being overweight and if it does harm your health then that’s a problem. But many comments have implied that if we disagree with Jen Hawkins weight, then we are advocating people being overweight. Do you understand the ridiculousness of that statement? JH is 180 cm tall and weighs 57kg. This gives her a BMI of 17.5 which is considered dangerously underweight. Then in addition she is airbrushed for these ads. There are thousands of people in Australia who have perfectly healthy BMIs between 20-25 (myself included – I am 173cm and weigh 63kg who end up feeling like we are actually OVERweight, because of ads like this). And as a personal trainer I happen to know that that weight is, as well as being unhealthy, almost unattainable for most women unless they do indeed begin to stave themselves, or throw up what they do eat. SO are we being encouraged to have poor body image and develop eating disorders? Your call. But in the shouting about whether people should be fat/thin/allowed to advertise how they like etc, try to remember the thousands of people in our society who are literally starving themselves to death because we continue to allow them to be told that they are not fit to be loved.
The critique I and others have made is not about jealousy or personal insecurity. It’s not personal at all. And it’s not that some women need to ‘get over themselves’. It is about analysing harmful messages and shining a light on double standards in current body image campaigns. It’s about deconstructing an ad campaign by a company that wants to be at the forefront of cultural change while running ads featuring (in their words) “hot” pics of an “enviable” supermodel presented as a male porn fantasy stereotype. I just don’t think you can have it both ways. That’s all.
World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September promotes worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. On average, almost 3000 people commit suicide daily. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.
The sponsoring International Association for Suicide Prevention, the co-sponsor WHO and other partners advocate for the prevention of suicidal behaviour, provision of adequate treatment and follow-up care for people who attempted suicide, as well as responsible reporting of suicides in the media.
At the global level, awareness needs to be raised that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death. Governments need to develop policy frameworks for national suicide prevention strategies. At the local level, policy statements and research outcomes need to be translated into prevention programmes and activities in communities.
Dead women as advertising fodder
Preventing suicide is something you would think everyone would support, right?
Unfortunately not. Some companies appear to see the ultimate in self-harm as mere fodder for their ad campaigns.
Take a look at this advertising shoot for a South Korean clothing company called Lewitt and featuring our very own Abbey Lee Kershaw. Shot by Ryan McGinley, it depicts a distressed looking Kershaw frantically running through the streets. At one stage she curls up in a foetal position. She then climbs a building, seems to hesitate, before leaping off the edge. She lands in a crumpled heap on the pavement at the bottom of the building.
There have been a rash of female suicides in South Korea, among them nine models who have committed suicide in the last two years alone. As Frockwriter and Jezebel point out, South Korea has the “highest suicide rate in the developed world.”
So how does the company respond?
Did Alice end up dead?
Well, they say it’s all about Alice in Wonderland.
Oh, of course! Alice in Wonderland, tumbling down a rabbit hole. Except I don’t remember the bit where she ends up dead.
Patty Huntington, aka Frockwriter, asked Abbey Lee Kershaw why the suicide-related theme, given that so many South Korean women take their own lives. She gives non answers.
Frockwriter: I just wanted to ask about this Korean video you’ve done, Lewitt. What is it exactly?
Abbey Lee Kershaw: It’s an Asian label and it was based around the story of Alice in Wonderland.
FW: So what, she’s supposed to be falling down the rabbit hole?
ALK: Ah…I don’t…I mean…however you…we were shooting all day. There were different scenes all day. So his, ah, edit of it…I haven’t even seen it to be honest. I haven’t seen it yet. I think it just came out.
FW: Some might be concerned that it looks like you’re trying to jump off the building.
ALK: Yeah of course people are concerned about things like that. People are always going to perceive…
FW: South Korea has the highest female suicide rate in the world and there have also been a lot of model suicides, with many of them jumping. Do you not understand why it might concern people?
ALK: I understand. I haven’t seen the video.
FW: But wouldn’t you have had the right to see it before it was finished?
Adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg describes the campaign as ‘manifestly irresponsible’ and wonders if someone did end their lives, if the advertisers could be sued (personal correspondence).
Lewitt should be held to account for glamourising suicide to sell men’s fashion. And Abbey Lee Kershaw should apologise for a terrible lapse of judgement in agreeing to be part of this.
So, I’m on a train to my mate’s place after addressing Generation Next’s Teen Mental Health seminar to get ready for another event. It’s Friday, World Suicide Prevention Day (as noted above). I have a new gig of trawling through girls and young women’s magazines and writing about what I find (I feel like I’m being punished for something). So I started with Girlfriend. To my amazement I come across this on p.52.
TLDR – internet speak for Too Long, Didn’t Read – can be used “to hilarious effect” says Girlfriend, “right after someone spills an intensely personal and emotional post detailing their innermost thoughts and feelings”.
The example is given of an individual whose dog has died. They express great loneliness and loss. They are not coping, they feel sad and their “heart hurts so much”. After which the reader adds “TLDR”, at GF prompting.
What is this really saying? Essentially, it is an act of straight out ridicule. TOO FREAKIN’ LONG , CAN’T BE BOTHERED, COULDN’T GIVE A STUFF.
I would have expected the editors to be more responsible about behavior that could constitute, or at least lead to cyber-bullying, which has become so common and devastating for so many young people.
Random acts of unkindness?
Remarkably, on the adjoining page is advice from GF’s “Life coach”. Under the heading “It’s cool to be kind”, GF advises practicing “random acts of kindness for an extra dose of happiness. Like now”. Just not to someone expressing their grief in an internet forum.
Susan McLean, an expert on cyber safety and cyber bullying, speaks on this issue pretty much around the clock. Also speaking at the Generation Next event, she showed this anti- bullying video:
Being mean isn’t hilarious. It’s cruel. We need to do all we can to support those in pain, not make fun of them. World Suicide Prevention Day is a good reminder of this.
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