Collective Shout makes a case for change that puts women and girls ahead of corporate profits
Here’s two recent submissions (here and here) Collective Shout made to Federal Government inquiries into outdoor advertising and to an examination of the classification system.
On April 4 I appeared before the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs and gave verbal evidence, which can be found here. Yesterday I appeared (via teleconference) at the second inquiry and will provide a link when it’s up.
House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into the regulation of billboard and outdoor advertising
Collective Shout is critical of the self‐regulatory system and believes the advertising industry has used self‐regulation to its commercial advantage, to the detriment of the community, and women and girls in particular. The self‐regulation model enables the advertising industry to be seen to be responsible and to avoid real scrutiny of its long history of irresponsible and profit‐driven behaviour.
We have identified a range of inadequacies in the current system, including a weak code of ethics, the voluntary nature of the code, lack of pre-vetting, the Advertising Standards Board’s lack of power to order removal of advertisements, inadequate monitoring, de-sensitisation of panel members, little to no consultation with child development experts, and no meaningful penalties to provide any real incentive for advertisers to change their behaviour…
It is our view that the colonisation of public space with objectified and sexualised images of women and girls, together with the lack of action by regulatory bodies except in a minority of cases, conditions many people to seeing sexist advertising as acceptable, or as ‘just the way things are’. At a time when hyper-sexual imagery is increasing, regulatory bodies need to be given more powers to deal with this problem, not fewer.
We also wish to highlight the fact that sexualised representations of women and girls displayed in a workplace constitute sexual harassment under anti‐discrimination law.1 But the open display of similar objectified and sexualised images of women in the public domain is exempt from sexual harassment laws. If this material has been ruled inappropriate for workplaces or schools, why is it considered acceptable as the ‘wallpaper’ of the public domain, where we have no choice but to view it?
The proliferation and globalisation of sexual imagery is of serious concern. Pornographic representations of women in the public space have become normative. There is a growing body of research globally that demonstrates the detrimental effect of these representations, especially on children and young people. The Australian Psychological Society told the Senate Committee Inquiry into the sexualisation of children in 2008, “the values implicit in sexualised images are that physical appearance and beauty are intrinsic to self esteem and social worth, and that sexual attractiveness is a part of childhood experience… Girls learn to see and think of their bodies as objects of others’ desire, to be looked at and evaluated for its appearance.” In addition, advertising plays a crucial part in socialising men and boys to see the sexual objectification of women and girls as normal…Read the full submission here. It’s no. 43. (I also recommend The Castan Centre’s submission no. 40 and Julie Gale, Kids Free to Be Kids, no. 44)
Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Australian film and literature classification scheme
No longer just about the men’s magazine, the Playboy logo has become mainstream. Playboy has introduced porno chic to a younger audience, with its insignia now adorning doona and pillow covers, pencil cases, key rings, wallets, purses, stationary, make-up and youth clothing ranges.
Not too long ago, Girlfriend magazine promoted Playboy clothing as “the must have brand for cool girls.” To adorn yourself in some way with the rabbit logo was to demonstrate an uninhibited, free range sexiness: essential for every girl.
Now Playboy Enterprises has been given the opportunity to socialise an even younger audience to the bunny ears. Perhaps it won’t be long before the bunny becomes as ubiqitous as the golden arches. Afterall, Hugh Hefner once said he wouldn’t mind if a baby held up a Playboy bunny rattle.
The porn empire’s latest marketing tool is a character much loved by children for the chocolaty delights he delivers. The Easter Bunny.
Universal has just released an animated film called Hop, billed as “Candy, chicks and rock ‘n’ roll”. The film features E.B, teenage son of the Easter Bunny. Easter Bunny senior wants his child to take over the family Easter egg business. But E.B has other plans. He wants to “see the world” so runs away to Hollywood, determined to become a drummer in a rock band.
But not every bunny wants to stay in a burrow. So when E.B looks for a bed where does he go to first?
The Playboy mansion of course. When E.B is told by “celebrity narrator” Hugh Heffner that the mansion only accommodates “sexy” bunnies, E.B replies enthusiastically: “I can be sexy!”
In this coming of age story which appeals to children’s natural attraction to the Easter Bunny, E.B “learns what it takes to grow up”. The animated teen rebel, resisting his father’s wishes for him, on a journey of discovery, ends up at the Playboy mansion.
Cartoon bunny meet Playboy bunny in one seamless hop.
Embedding the Playboy Mansion in an Easter holiday film for kids is just another example of the mainstreaming of sex industry codes to children, contributing to their internalizing a message that the best known brand of the global porn industry is cool.
Alison Pollet in her 2004 article, Strip till You Drop, writes, “The bunny’s getting an extreme makeover; the company’s amping up its playful, mildly risqué qualities and de-emphasizing its pornographic ones.”
Hop helps it do that. The man responsible for the trivialization of female sexuality on a global scale becomes a celebrity narrator providing cartoon bunnies a bed for the night.
You only have to go back to Hefner’s original description of the meaning of the Bunny, to get a good idea of his sexist and harmful views of women. In an interview cited here Hefner said:
The rabbit, the bunny, in America has a sexual meaning, and I chose it because it’s a fresh animal, shy, vivacious, jumping – sexy. First it smells you, them it escapes, then it comes back, and you feel like caressing it, playing with it. A girl resembles a bunny. Joyful, joking. Consider the kind of girl that we made popular: the Playmate of the Month. She is never sophisticated, a girl you cannot really have. She is a young, healthy, simple girl — the girl next door … we are not interested in the mysterious, difficult woman, the femme fatale, who wears elegant underwear, with lace, and she is sad, and somehow mentally filthy. The Playboy girl has no lace, no underwear, she is naked, well-washed with soap and water, and she is happy.
First person accounts about life at the Playboy Mansion reveal how the women are seen as property to be treated however Hefner wants. Jill Ann Spaulding describes porn and Viagra assisted unsafe sex sessions with the elderly Hefner.
Also this recent account in a piece titled “Pay to Play” by Daniel Flynn and published in The Spectator:
Nobody told Izabella St. James that sexual liberation came with curfews, monitors, and allowances. A former live-in girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, St. James has come clean on the dirty life inside the Playboy mansion. The Hefner girlfriends log-out upon departing the mansion and log-in upon returning. Security personnel monitor their movements, with a strict 9 p.m. curfew imposed. Weekly allowances of $1,000, and gratis plastic surgery, keep the ladies in line. The busty blonde reflected in the Daily Mail earlier this year, “Little did I realize that by moving into the mansion I was losing all the freedom I associated with the Playboy lifestyle.”
The picture painted of the Playboy mansion by St. James and other playmates is one of joyless, obligatory orgies, dog-mess littered carpets, hall-monitor snitches, and a control-freak master of the house. Reality-television star Kendra Wilkinson, a five-year resident of the mansion, recalls: “It was way more strict than my parents had ever been.”
Flynn concludes: “One man’s emancipation can be another’s enslavement. In Hugh Hefner’s case, one old man’s sexual liberation is a whole harem’s subjugation”.
But it’s all candy, chicks and rock ‘n’ roll for E.B.
If you prefer your children have a non commercialised, commodified, women-as-bunnies Playboy mediated vision of sexuality, don’t take them to see Hop.
As if there’s not already enough girls whose lives are being destroyed through eating disorders, the on-line UK seller Zazzle.co is doing its bit to make even more girls sicker and to spread further suffering.
This t.shirt (left) is inspired by a motto uttered by model Kate Moss “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. It is marketed to children through a line of “size-zero slogan” products created by US based label Teen Modelling. Even babies are expected to promote the food-is-bad ideology.
‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ is used as ‘thinspiration’ for girls through pro-anorexia websites. It is employed to strengthen the resolve of a sufferer, to help them exercise willpower and self-control in their quest for ultra-thinness.
Zazzle refuses to take any responsibility, stating: “Zazzle is a custom products platform, it enables all users to create their own products that feature their own content. In this way, Zazzle is an outlet for users to express their personal opinions and viewpoints.”
As long as Zazzle makes money hosting these tees with their killer slogans, that’s the main thing. Profits over the wellbeing and health of girls.
One in 100 girls in Australia suffers anorexia. Anorexia Nervosa is the third most common chronic illness for adolescent girls in this country.
Yet too many companies seem to want to hasten them to an early grave.
Shaun Metcalf has been given a second chance at playing for the New Zealand Warriors after repeatedly kicking his 15-year old girlfriend in the stomach in an attempt to cause her to abort their baby.
Metcalf, now 23, was sentenced to 18 months jail in 2004 where he spent five months before and being released to home detention (despite the entreaties of the victim and her family). He and his two rugby mates Geoffrey Ruaporo and Kyle Donovan tricked the girl into meeting them in a park where they set upon her. Three beefy blokes ganged up on a pregnant teen in an attempt to cause her to lose the baby.
Somehow the girl and her baby survived the attack – the infant was born four months later.
Metcalf has just signed a two-year contract with the New Zealand Rugby League. He says he’s sorry for what he did. I really hope that’s the case.
But there is something especially disconcerting about arguments used to restore Metcalf to the sporting life. Arguments which come close to violence apologism.
Lashlie put a case for Metcalf being returned to the game to the NRL in 2005, arguing, basically that we should just all move on.
We can all get caught up in the emotional image of young men booting a young woman in the stomach to cause her to abort her baby, but these were two young people … she got pregnant, he was way out of his depth, and he did a really cruel and dumb thing.
‘He was caught in the moment, and what he did was the equivalent of a young man putting a noose around his neck because his girlfriend tossed him out. He has to be allowed to move forward and put his life together, and I think the ability of the NRL and the Warriors to take this young man in and help him do that is role modelling and something they should get credit for.
Oh no, we wouldn’t want to get caught up in an image of young footballers playing football with the pregnant womb of a 15-year old girl now would we?
Lashlie wants us to be rational about this. Let’s not get overwhelmed by emotion because that would be distracting. The girl “got pregnant” – as girls often so magically do. He was a mere spectator – perhaps it was even her fault for letting it happen?
He was “way out of his depth?” But don’t lots of people find themselves out of our depth and manage to refrain from lashing out in obscenely violent ways?
“The equivalent of putting the noose around his neck”? No, it was the equivalent of putting a noose around her neck – and the neck of her child. Laskie paints the act as some kind of self-punishment. But he wasn’t assaulted. He wasn’t trying to protect the child he was carrying. It wasn’t he who might lose his life.
Note those he invited to the kicking session. Not school friends or family members, but his NRL mates. Because this is what footie mates do for each other, they help out a buddy in need and stomp on whoever needs to be stomped on, even a defenceless girl.
Cruel and dumb? Breaking up by text message is cruel and dumb. Attacking a pregnant girl with your thug mates isn’t dumb. This is not a footballer drunk and disorderly and urinating in public. This is a footballer engaging in a vicious, criminal, callous and pre-meditated act.
Lashlie’s comments trivialises the seriousness of this crime. They are an insult to any woman who has experienced violence. And that is already just too many.
The ACT Government is holding an inquiry into prostitution in the Territory. Collective Shout has made a submission to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety. Here it is:
Collective Shout submission in response to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety review of the operation of the Prostitution Act 1992
(1) The form and operation of the Act;
During the 1990s sections of the sex industry were legalised in the Netherlands, Germany, and, in Australia, in the states of Victoria and Queensland. While a model of harm minimisation has been shown to be effective in some fields such as substance dependency, there is sufficient evidence now to demonstrate that a harm minimisation approach is inherently flawed when it comes to regulating the sex industry. This failure has been recognised by both academic studies and reports published by governments.
The inherent nature of sex work runs against the notion of a gender equal society. The idea that human bodies – mostly those of women and children – can be bought, sold, and rented in the flesh trade requires them to be treated as objects, in effect as sexual aids. Many prostituted women report having experienced childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, substance dependency, sexual assault, interrupted education, and/or mental health problems. The harm minimization model – or legalisation of prostitution services – essentially allows for the exploitation of society’s most vulnerable peoples. It is time to recognize that “the world’s oldest profession” is actually “the world’s oldest oppression.”
One of the key goals of the harm minimisation model was to reduce the number of sexually trafficked victims. In fact the reverse has occurred. Former mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, stated in 2007 at a press conference that “the legalization of prostitution did not bring about what many had hoped… we are still faced with distressing situations in which women are being exploited. It is high time for a thorough evaluation of the Prostitution Act… we have seen in the last years that trafficking in women is becoming more, so in this respect the legalizing of prostitution didn’t work out.” Where prostitution has been legalised, crime gangs have proliferated – leading to a significant increase in sexually trafficked victims and illegal brothels.
The failures of legalised prostitution in Victoria have been thoroughly documented by Mary Lucille Sullivan in Making Sex Work: A failed experiment with legalised prostitution (Spinifex Press 2007). All the claims made about how legalisation would solve so many problems connected with prostitution such as drugs, crime and violence against women, failed to materialise. What did materialise was millions of dollars in profits for the state and the Australian sex industry. The social normalisation of prostitution that has occurred through Victoria’s legalisation has benefited the sex industry business people to a great extent. The industry now runs yearly trade shows (‘Sexpo’) in most Australian states, it promotes itself through both outdoor and press advertising, and brothel owners are treated by government as if they were carrying out socially legitimate commerce. Collective Shout questions the social legitimacy of business activities that derive their profit from individual women being used for the sexual gratification of men with money.
The harm minimisation model contravenes international best practice on prostitution. The only sex industry regulatory model that is consistent with international law is the Nordic model. This model has been demonstrated to reduce violence against prostituted women and has been adopted in Sweden, Iceland, South Korea, and Norway. There are three key aspects to this model:
A. Criminalisation of buyers of prostituted people, and people who organise the prostitution of others.
B. Decriminalisation of prostituted people as victims of crime, and the establishment of services and facilities to assist them.
C. Public education as to prostitution as a human rights violation.
We urge the ACT government to re-evaluate its current legislation which legalises parts of the sex industry. The evidence is clear that legalisation and decriminalisation have failed in achieving the key aims they were set out to achieve. The prostitution of women is inherently at odds with a gender equal society. This inquiry presents a great opportunity for the ACT government to become a world leader in regards to best-practice policy on prostitution.
Recommendation 1: that the ACT government adopt the Nordic model of penalising the buyers and decriminalising prostituted women, moving towards a ‘harm elimination’ model.
‘Julie,’ who was prostituted into Canberra’s sex industry as an underage teen, spoke to ABC 7.30 ACT.
In the interview Julie says:
“When you’re involved in an industry when there’s lots of crime, lots of corruption, it’s about money, people don’t let you walk away from that.
“There’s peer pressure, pressure from owners, pressure from receptionists: ‘So and so’s coming in, they’ve requested you, can you just do one job?’
“When you’re 17 and earning a couple of thousand a day, it’s addictive, and that’s why people need genuine help to get out of the industry.
“You can’t have sex with 10 to 15 different men every day without it impacting you and how you value yourself, and how you value sex, and how you build intimacy with another human being. It was very difficult to go on and have a normal intimate relationship with one person.
“Being 17 having worked as a prostitute you don’t have many skills you can use in the workforce or can put on a CV. It took me about 12 months to then find a job and start to function.”
PETA deserves contempt for exploiting women, writes MELINDA TANKARD REIST
PETA needs to be renamed.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would more accurately be described as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals But Not Women.
While the group calling itself the world’s largest animal-rights lobby protests loudly and sometimes violently against the use of animals as meat, it has no hesitation in treating women that way.
The pro-animal lobby’s latest stunt is to offer a free picture of model Vida Guerra naked for each donation over $5.
That’s right, give us five measly bucks and we’ll pimp you a “full new naked ad!” PETA is now acting as a distributor of soft-porn images.
PETA has a long history of using porn-like images of women to promote its anti-animal-cruelty work. This raises questions about the organisation’s understanding of the words “ethical treatment”.
While its manifesto opposes the use of “living creatures” for entertainment, it’s apparently OK if the living creature is a woman in a lettuce bikini. Or if she is a naked cover girl or “video vixen” such as Vida Guerra.
A recent campaign showed models getting up close and personal with vegetables.
“Why don’t you pick a vegetable and show us how much you love it,” the casting director instructed a swimsuit model.
This was is just one of many of PETA’s creations that denigrate women and reduce them to objects for sexual fetish fantasy.
In 2006 PETA portrayed women as party animals with udders instead of breasts. In the Milk Gone Wild clip – a play on the “Girls Gone Wild” genre in which women are encouraged to flash their breasts for the camera, women are shown as eager to rip off their tops and expose themselves to a large male crowd who urged them on, chanting at them to reveal their breast/udders.
The “udder babes” then squirt milk on the faces of the enthusiastic men.
Women are reduced to milk-producing cows flashing grotesque milk-spurting udders – all in the name of animal liberation.
Other campaigns have featured topless Sydney women in cages protesting KFC, women in flesh-coloured bikinis covered in fake blood wrapped in cellophane with the label “flesh” on the wrapping, like meat in a butcher’s shop, a dead naked woman as a stole and various naked and stripping images of a range of celebrities recruited for the cause, including Pamela Anderson and a Playboy Playmate.
An anti-rodeo advertisement depicted a young topless woman rolling in the hay with the slogan “Nobody likes an 8 second ride”.
Other sexualised images show naked women in shackles in a campaign against circuses.
Big Brother housemate Brigitte Stavaruk was approached by PETA to strip because of her “big assets” and Australian pop star and actress Sophie Monk was filmed naked on a bed of red chillies for the cause. It seems women have to take their clothes off to prove they really care about animals.
Fortunately, vegans and other animal-rights activists have spoken out against PETA’s sexist approach.
Vegansaurus!, a vegan eating-living guide based in the San Francisco Bay area, described the vegetables-as-phallic-symbols ad as “softcore porn masquerading as an anti-animal-cruelty video”.
Another well-known vegan blogger asked: “Are there exceptions in the vegan manifesto about how living creatures aren’t to be exploited for our entertainment?”
PETA’s behaviour harms the animal-rights cause. It also undermines campaigns against objectifying and exploiting women.
Those who care about both animals and equality for women should send their five dollars – or more – elsewhere.
Treating women like meat is a poor way to promote vegetarianism
Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is in trouble again. This time a furore has erupted over a controversial campaign where people who donate $5 or more to the organisation are sent a nude picture of Cuban-born model Vida Guerra. It’s the latest in a long line of PETA stunts that use nude women to sell vegetarianism.
Last year a PETA ad was banned from being played during the American Super Bowl. The NBC listed a number of concerns with the sexual explicitness of the ads, but PETA’s website boasts that the ad was simply “too hot for the Super Bowl”, stating it featured “a bevy of beauties who are powerless to resist the temptation of veggie love”. And then there’s the range of “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” PETA ads, which feature various naked female celebrities. Read more>>
Shapewear line to help you be more like the “lucky” slim girls
I was recently asked to comment on a ‘story’ about underwear brand Triumph announcing new body shape descriptions, replacing fruit (apple, pear) with artists (Botticelli, Rembrandt, Ruben, Da Vinci, Raphael and Matisse). I gave a quick comment that it was still labelling and I didn’t think labelling of any kind was helpful . Emphasising health was more important than putting a label on body size, shape or weight.
At that stage I hadn’t seen the TV footage depicting women in underwear identifying themselves as a particular artistic shape, parading through Sydney’s Pitt Street to promote the brand.
As I looked into it more, I came to conclude that what we were seeing was an advertising puff piece masquerading as news – another excuse to show women (with generally ‘acceptable’ bodies in the first place) walking around the streets in underwear under the guise of body image concerns. ABC’s Media Watch featured Triumph’s media stunt here and reported it would have been worth over a million dollars in free advertising.
Triumph’s body image ‘shape report’ report seemed to be just the peg on which to launch some new underwear. As the media release says : “The Shape Report supports the launch of Triumph’s Shape Sensation range.” Oh my goodness – really?
An analysis of the findings of the report (conducted in conjunction with Marie Claire) with commentary from authorities in the field – sans the underwear models – would have been more convincing. But would the TV networks have been so keen to cover it without the public display of women in lingerie?
In promotions about the different body types, Triumph describes those with the body type considered ideal as “lucky”: “Do you have a smaller waist but a fuller bust and bottom? Lucky girl. You’re blessed with a typical Rembrandt body. ” This shows that despite mouthing platitudes about body image diversity, the company still gives primary value to a particular body type – which defeats the whole (supposed) purpose. The shapewear is designed to conform/bind bodies to an ideal – to make you more like the lucky girls.
When you click on the image for the ‘style advice’ you will see the women are magically transformed into something quite different – here’s what becomes of ‘Matisse’ and ‘Reubens’ for example. Yep that’s the transforming power of the Triumph Bonded Long Short.
As my colleague Lydia Turner from BodyMatters Australasia says: “The reality is women’s bodies are not limited to these shapes – trying to squeeze every woman’s bodies into them only perpetuates the idea that women’s bodies are objects to be categorized”.
If they really did want to celebrate all body types, and create an environment where women felt better about their bodies, they could start with including them in their catalogues.
The approach of Triumph – and other companies spouting body image concerns – isn’t to advocate changing the toxic culture which makes women feel bad about themselves but add to it with more products we can buy to make us look ‘better’.
‘Poisonous lies about what we have to do to be considered attractive’
Triumph is also running a competition looking for six ‘real’ women to be ‘ambassadors’ for their body type to promote the company’s new range of body shaping lingerie. We can apparently only feel better about ourselves if we look attractive and acceptable and that means ‘real’ women need to “find their shape and change using Best Body Shapewear”. As Collective Shout supporter Nicole Jameson of Adelaide points out in her March 30 letter to Triumph, it ends up being just another beauty contest – entrants’ success is dependent upon online votes with finalists then flown to Sydney for a ‘final judging session’.
Today I was asked by a friend via Facebook if I would vote for her entry to become “an ambassador for her body shape”. Intrigued, I clicked the link and arrived at the website for your “Shape Ambassador Body Shape Competition”.
At first, I was encouraged to see a lingerie company seeking ‘real women’ to represent their product. But the more I explored your website, the more confused I became. You are seeking for women to represent “real female body shapes”, yet these women will become the public face of a product which hides and changes their bodies.
We live in a toxic culture, which promotes unnatural and unattainable standards of beauty to the detriment of the mental and physical health of millions of Australian and NZ women. Your own survey has identified that 70% of respondents are unhappy with their body, and that 82% would prefer to have a different body shape. This not a marketing opportunity – this is a tragedy. Women do not need to be sold a product which exploits our insecurities in order to help us attain false ideals – we need to be told that we are acceptable and beautiful as we are. Your competition, along with your ‘shapewear’, denies that there is beauty to be found in our ‘real’ bodies and feeds poisonous lies about what we need to do in order to be considered acceptable and attractive. It is disgracefully disingenuous of you to dress up such a hideous assault to our self-esteem in the guise of ‘body confidence’.
So no, I am not going to vote for my friend’s entry. Rather, I am going to discourage her, and everyone else I know, from entering your competition. Then I’m going to tell them that they are beautiful as they are, and don’t need to waste their money on appearance-altering underwear to cover up their ‘real’ bodies. Australian women don’t need to “find our shape and change”, Triumph. Your company, on the other hand, could apparently do with a good long look in the mirror.
I haven’t seen the latest photographs by artist Bill Henson to go on show at Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne.
But I have seen these.
So I know what Henson is capable of and how he likes to depicts and shoot young girls.
The girl (image to the right) who featured naked on the invite to the Roslyn Oxley gallery was 13. While that photo was widely circulated, an even more graphic one of another girl (image to the left) was not. She is ‘Untitled 1985/86’, quietly auctioned by Menzies Art Brands, Lot 214, for $3800, only weeks after the original Henson controversy.
And when Tolarno Galleries refuses to reveal the age of the youngest naked girl in the new exhibition, you have to suspect there is a problem. Why the secrecy? Was she at an age where she could consent? As respected teen psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg put it when I asked his view, would she “have sufficient cognitive or emotional maturity to fully comprehend the potential ramifications of what she is doing?”
Where will her photo end up? Where did the photos of the other two girls above end up?
Why does calling it “art” make sexualised depictions of young girls OK?
It is right to question Henson’s sexual depictions of vulnerable naked young girls – and other overtly sexualised imagery of children – a point I made on Channel 7’s Morning Show last Thursday. Media academic and researcher Nina Funnell also reveals here that Henson’s images have been found in the collections of paedophilies.
Calling on Federal Minister Peter Garrett and Victoria counterpart Wendy Lovell to intervene
Collective Shout has initiated a petition in response to the news that a US pageant company plans to import its child beauty competitions to Australia. You can find the petition on the Care2 petition site . Please sign and circulate it through all your networks. The petition reads:
Child beauty pageant company Universal Royalty Beauty Pageant is planning to hold a ‘Child Beauty Pageant’ in Melbourne, Australia, in July.
Many psychologists and child development authorities agree that child beauty pageants are not in the best interest of healthy child development.
A study conducted by Anna Wonderlich et.al (2005) in the Journal of Treatment and Prevention reported ‘A significant association between childhood beauty pageant participation and increased body dissatisfaction, difficulty trusting interpersonal relationships, and greater impulsive behaviors and indicates a trend toward increased feelings of ineffectiveness.’
Television shows like Toddlers and Tiaras reveal the child exploitation endemic in these pageants. Child advocates around the world have spoken out about the sexualised clothing, suggestive dance moves, hours of grooming and preening required. They have expressed concern about the way pageants provide external validation to girls that their physical appearance is what is most important in being female. They have criticised the way child beauty pageants re-inforce stereotypical norms about female beauty. They have also pointed out that adultifying children in pageants and elsewhere invites us to see them as older than they are, which puts them (and other children) at risk of inappropriate treatment.
Pitting young girls against each other in a competition based on physical appearance and performance is harmful to their wellbeing.Research on the sexualisation of children shows that reinforcing an emphasis on looks and attractiveness leads to negative body image, disordered eating, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
We call on the Federal Minister for Early Childhood and Youth, the Hon. Peter Garrett and the Victoria Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, Wendy Lovell, to take action to prevent these style of pageants in Australia and (with State colleagues) to consider legislative measures to ban all future pageants for children.
Mtr on sexualisation of girls and pageants this week on SBS
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“Melinda Tankard Reist is at the forefront of helping…educate the public on the link between pornography and violence…” – Di Macleod, Director, Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence
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Men of Honour -written by Glen Gerreyn- encourages and inspires young men to take up the challenge to be honourable. Whether at school, in sport, at work or in relationships, we must develp our character to achieve success and experience the thrills life has on offer.
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“Getting Real contains a treasure trove of information and should be mandatory reading for all workers with young people in health, education and welfare” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Adolescent Psychologist
Do you read women’s lifestyle magazines? Have you thought about how magazines might affect you when you read them? Faking It reflects the body of academic research on magazines, mass media, and the sexual objectification of women.
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Defiant Birth challenges widespread medical, and often social aversion to less than perfect pregnancies or genetically different babies. It also features women with disabilities who were discouraged from becoming pregnant at all.