On the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ it is important to reflect on the ongoing sexist violence, as well as the campaigns to end it. Violence against women is on the rise in a number of countries around the world. Australia is no exception with sexual violence at epidemic levels – double the world average. Activism against sexist violence is needed now more than ever. This year, Collective Shout has successfully challenged this on a number of fronts. There have been successful campaigns that have confronted sexual objectification of girls and women and the violence that too often follows.
Some highlights of the most recent campaigns include the success against Wicked Camper vans, which featured slogans like ‘in every princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once’. The petition against Wicked vans, led by Sydney activist Paula Orbea, gathered 120’000 supporters across the globe calling to remove the degrading text. Another successful collaborative campaign has brought light on the violent strategies of ‘dating coach’ Julien Blanc who encouraged men to grab and even throttle women on dates.
Collective Shout is one of the few organisations that bridges the gap between acts of violence against women and a wider culture of sexual objectification of girls and women.
Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police Ken Lay recently spoke out against violence against women and the objectifying culture behind it. He successfully summed it up by saying:
“The casual groping, the sick sense of entitlement, the disrespect — all of it slowly erodes our attitudes towards women. Bit by bit our standards are lowered until this kind of behaviour becomes a form of endorsement of violence towards women.”
Most people will agree that violence against women is a serious issue. Many of us agree with the World Health Organization that states, “violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportion” While physical violence against girls and women are often admonished, the link with the wider culture of sexual objectification is not always clearly defined. In fact, the link between violence against women and objectification is at times outright denied.
Fuelling this denial is a number of unrelenting myths that circumvent the role of objectification in a culture of sexist violence. These myths often centre on the idea that girls and women either choose or lie about sexual objectification and violence. For the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ Collective Shout is naming and challenging a number of these myths:
‘She chose it’
The idea that girls and women are ‘attention seeking’ or ‘choose’ to be objectified is a way of shoring up victim blaming, it’s a kind of ‘she asked for it’ in different terminology. Hundreds of media reports show those who sexually exploit children are often defended as if it was the child’s ‘choice’. A similar case of a child’s sexual exploitation was justified as the victim was apparently sexualised, wearing a midriff top. We live in a world where girls and women are under more pressure than ever to conform to sexually objectifying standards, free choice is increasingly constrained. The conflating of sexual objectification with ‘choice’ is an all too common myth.
‘She is lying’
Another dangerous myth is that women are often lying or exaggerating about violence or sexual violence. Those who report sexual violence are treated as suspicious, victims are often just not believed. Statistics show that 1 in 3 women experience some kind of violence or sexual violence worldwide. Such a common experience yet so frequently it is denied or downplayed. This leads to a lack of convictions as well as public bullying of victims of violence; such as Steubenville rape victim Jane Doe who was relentlessly abused online after her sexual assault became known. The undermining of women’s reality and experience is one of the many outcomes of sexual objectification. When a woman is reduced to an object for consumption, her experience is questioned, denied and even ridiculed.
Sexual objectification creates a culture of impunity toward violence against girls and women. One where abusers feel justified because ‘she wanted it’. And one where girls feel disallowed to speak out because they are seen as mere objects. Objectification not only undermines gender equality but also thwarts efforts to reduce issues like violence against women. As documentary maker Jean Kilbourne said “turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” The focus needs to shift, instead of scrutinising or blaming the girls and women affected, we must scrutinise the culture and industry that makes sexual objectification so widely accepted and increasingly expected of girls and women. The myths that uphold sexual objectification need to be confronted and challenged everywhere they occur.
It is important that we collectively take action against perpetrators – not only the individuals who commit violent crimes, but also the retailers, the businesses, the industry regulators who profit from a culture of objectification and violence against women. Criticising individual perpetrators must go hand in hand with challenging the industries that profit from and propagate this culture. Industry regulators, like the Advertising Standards Board must be questioned and challenged in order to drive change. Collective Shout puts this activism front and centre of the fight to end violence against women.
Collective Shout is an activist movement to end sexual objectification and the violence against women that too frequently follows it. Importantly, it situates activism in the broader culture of sexual objectification. Sexual objectification is a crucial piece of the puzzle for tackling violence against girls and women.
While sexual violence is at epidemic levels, Collective Shout is making significant headway to challenge these issues. We need your support to continue, if you want to stand up and add your voice to the collective movement you can do so here.
Laura McNally is a psychologist, consultant, author and PhD candidate. Her current research examines the political and social implications of global corporate social responsibility. She can be found atlauramcnally.com
My piece on Herald Sun website here: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/julien-blancs-sexist-abusive-pickup-methods-should-be-rejected-by-aussie-venues-says-melinda-tankard-reist/story-fni0ffsx-1227112652542
Blanc’s training seminar: how to grab women’s heads and shove them into your groin
More comedy gold from the ASB: except we’re not laughing
It’s no secret that the advertising industry’s preferred model of regulation, self-regulation, has failed. Despite various government inquiries exploring the many flaws in the current system, as well as condemnation from child health professionals and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) the advertising industry has been given free reign to regulate themselves to the detriment of the community, in particular, children.
In 2012, AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton called for a new government inquiry into the sexualisation of children in advertising to protect the health and development of children. He said,
“These are highly sexualised ads that target children, and the advertising industry is getting away with it.
“There is strong evidence that premature sexualisation is likely to be detrimental to child health and development, particularly in the areas of body image and sexual health.
“The current self regulatory approach through the Advertising Standards Bureau is failing to protect children from sexualised advertising.”
We encourage supporters to utilise the complaints process when they come across hyper-sexualised advertising they suspect could be in breach of advertising codes. Many feel understandably frustrated as the ASB continues to dismiss valid complaints while simultaneously claiming that self-regulation is working well and this is evidenced by the fact they rarely uphold complaints! We’ve highlighted some of our previous complaints below to illustrate the great lengths the ASB goes to in order to excuse sexualising and adult sexual content in advertising.
Love and Rockets, Billboard
The photo of this billboard was taken from a Brisbane boy’s school. The ASB noted that it is not illegal for the sex industry to advertise outside schools and ruled that this billboard advertising a strip club to children treated sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience (school children) as it did “not show include explicit nudity”.
Schick for Men, Social Media video
In response to Schick’s commercial featuring a woman stripping off her clothes to sell men’s razors, the ASB said,”The Board noted that although the woman does remove her clothing…her breasts are covered by text on the screen. It was not sexualised.”
Supre Jeggings, TV commercial
The clothing store popular with teens and pre-teens released this ad to promote their new range of Jeggings. The ASB responded, “The woman was not posed in a sexualised manner.”
Lee Jeans, Billboard
It may come as no surprise that this image is part of a larger collection of photos by photographer and accused rapist Terry Richardson, with a reputation for porn-themed photo shoots and for sexually exploiting young models. The ASB said,
“There is no nudity [and] the woman’s pose was not inappropriately sexual.”
“Consumption of this style of lollipop is now common amongst people over 18.”
River ‘Get Excited’, Catalogue
An image of a woman who appeared to be nude aside from thigh high stockings, with her legs apart and her arms covering her private parts was “not overtly sexualised”, said the ASB.
The Firm Gentleman’s Club, Poster
We couldn’t locate a photo of the original poster, however it is the same (life-size) image as shown here on their website.
This life size poster was located on a busy Adelaide street. The ASB ruled this outdoor advertising was not in breach of industry codes and standards because “the image is relevant to the advertised product”. The product was women, for men’s sexual use.
Target Fifty Shades Lingerie, Billboard
The ASB said the billboard of a faceless woman reclining in lingerie complete with suspenders “[did] not present strongly sexualised imagery and is not inappropriate for viewing by a broad audience including children.”
Xotica Strip Club, Billboard
A supporter shared her frustration on encountering this large billboard while taking her children aged four through seven out for lunch. The ASB dismissed complaints about the billboard because the ad “[did] not show any private parts of the woman.” They went on to say:
“In the context of an advertisement for an adult venue the images of the women are not exploitative and degrading.”
“The building which is located in an area which contains a high proportion of adult venues…based on the location of the building, the audience likely to be frequenting the area are generally customers of the venues.”
UltraTune, TV Commercial
UltraTune used two dominatrix women brandishing whips and feigning arousal at the sight of tyres and car accessories for the enjoyment of a male staff member to promote their car service centres and accessories. The ASB dismissed complaints, ruling the dominatrix women were “relevant to the product” being advertised.
“Fresh One” coffee
Perth coffee brand “Fresh One” unleashed a series of porn inspired advertisements on its Facebook page earlier this year. The board upheld complaints against some of the ads, but dismissed complaints against others.
The Ad Standards Board dismissed complaints against this ad featuring a woman pouring milk over her chest.
“The Board noted that the woman is voluntarily pouring the milk over herself.”
“…the image is not exploitative or degrading, with references to ‘bathing in milk’ often associated with luxury (Cleopatra for example) rather than any demeaning activity.”
And this just in!
ASB dismisses complaints against General Pants Pornified “Wet Dreams” ad campaign. Read more here.
This is what industry self-regulation looks like.
The argument that adult, sex industry advertising can be justified in public spaces raises several questions. Do children and young people no longer have a right to be in a public space? Is it permissible for billboards to include sexually explicit content if they are promoting the purchase of women for sex? Do the rights of the sex industry to market itself to the masses take precedence over children’s rights to healthy development?
The Advertising Standards Bureau is a joke. As best-selling author and psychologist Steve Biddulph said, “The UK has an advertising watchdog that actually takes action. Australia has a watch tortoise that might have died.”
It takes a village to raise a child. We often hear from parents who feel overwhelmed and powerless to raise healthy children when the wider culture is undermining their attempts at every turn. Parents need the government and regulatory bodies to do their part in providing a safe environment for children.
Objectification of women should be recognised as discriminatory practice
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Review of the National Classification Scheme: achieving the right balance (June 2011) recommended that “community concerns about the sexualisation of society, and the objectification of women” be taken into account as a key principle in every classification decision (Recommendation 2). This reflects the core message of Collective Shout that women must never be depicted as mere objects for the sexual satisfaction of men.
We were particularly supportive of recommendations 4 and 8, which related to issues of objectification of women as forms of discriminatory practice. It is remarkable that in the ASB’s view, as cited in the report, objectification of women was not seen as contrary to the prohibitions on discrimination and vilification.
Clearly the self-regulatory system has been found lacking!
Industry has been warned, has had its chance to voluntarily self-regulate, and has conspicuously failed to act at the level required. The evidence of the past years of minimal response by industry shows that the market culture around this issue will not shift without stronger government initiative.
Woman’s Health Magazine editor Felicity Harley had said in response to the furore: “It is disappointing that this has become the focus rather than the phenomenal sporting talents of our Australian female athletes.”
And why do you think that was Felicity? It’s you and Women’s Health who caused this to be the case by sending spectacularly conflicting messages about what you valued in women. If it’s ‘phenomenal sporting talent’ you’re interested in, why pay four topless women to turn up? Were we supposed to overlook these almost-naked painted models parading at a signature event supposedly celebrating the sporting achievements of female athletes?
Since then, as the social media condemnation grew and Danielle Warby, a board director of the Australian Women Sport and Recreation Association, ramped things up with this piece, Women’s Health was forced into an apology.
The fact that at least one man admitted on Women’s Health Facebook page to getting off on the images shows how wrong they got it.
Initial reports left out the image of the model representing Cathy Freeman, painted in her designer one-piece Olympic running suit and she was not referred to. Perhaps this was to protect her dignity, I’m not sure. However, this insult to Freeman must be named. Of the four, her replica is the most recognisable.
I have some questions for Women’s Health. Where did you find the models? Who was the agency? Did Women’s Health make deliberate specifications regarding women’s breast size, for example? Who was hired to painted their bodies (including the logos just above one of the model’s nipples)? Who were the models hired to entertain exactly?
It’s one thing when men do this to women (most of the time). But when women facilitate the objectification of women and do so under a banner of celebrating sporting achievement, it’s even more depressing. Have sexualised representations of women, including women who have achieved greatly, become so normal and mainstream that even women editors of a popular women’s health magazine didn’t see a problem?
The Women’s Health Australia “I support women in sport awards” was held this week to recognise the achievements of Australia’s female athletes.
Women’s Health editor Felicity Harley said the night was “all about giving recognition and telling the stories of Australian sportswomen, who don’t get enough coverage for their efforts and talents.”
A worthy goal indeed. Harley is right – sportswomen don’t get enough coverage for their talents and efforts. The sexual objectification of female athletes is a long-standing problem in our culture which continues to have a negative impact on the health and well-being of women and girls and limits their participation in sport.
This makes the decision to hire topless women for the event – wearing only underpants and body paint -even more bizarre.
Female athletes and advocates for women in sport were quick to call out Women’s Health Magazine for reinforcing the sexual objectification of women in sport:
Danielle Warby, a board director of the Australian Womensport and Recreation Association asked Women’s Health editor Felicity Harley for an explanation. Harley responded by dodging responsibility and blaming the media.
Harley also hasn’t explained why Women’s Health Australia hired naked models.
Speaking to the SMH, Warby said “The sexualisation of women in sport is a massive issue,”…”These women are not athletes, they are naked and I don’t know why they are there.”
Here’s why this is important:
Sexual objectification undermines women and girls equal participation in sport.
Focusing on an athlete’s physical attributes in an overtly sexual manner can create anxiety and embarrassment for the individual. This may be compounded by a heightened body awareness already present in many female athletes. If the athlete does not feel she ‘measures up’ to an external judgment of her physique, her self-esteem may suffer.
A potential consequence of lowered self-esteem is compromised athletic performance. The athlete becomes distracted both on and off the arena of sport, and may be tempted into unhealthy eating habits. In younger athletes, where self-confidence may be less secure, the increased focus on the body because of sexploitation can lead to a poor body image. There is a wealth of research linking poor body image with increased risk of eating disorders or disordered eating behaviours.
(source: Jan Borrie, Shaping up to the image makers, Panorama, The Canberra Times, 27 May 2000)
A Magazine titled “Women’s Health” should know better than to pull a stunt like this. Our elite female athletes – and the young aspiring athletes looking to follow their example – deserve better.
Take Action! Make your voice heard – Tweet, Facebook or email
Tweet Womens Health Magazine @womenshealthaus
Tweet Australian Government is included amoung the sponsors of the event. Contact the Minister for Health and Sport Peter Dutton. @PeterDutton_MP
We need change. We need it now. And we need your help to get it. Please join us in our crusade. We are in the midst of a public health crisis in Australia. Weight, eating and body image issues are rampant. The weight loss services industry has positioned itself as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, causing harm and confusion to Australians.
If you are a REGISTERED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL IN AUSTRALIA (eg psychologist, doctor, dietician) and you share our concern, please sign the petition for a Senate inquiry into the need for regulation of the weight loss services industry, namely the advertising and sale of dietary products and supplements. If you are not a health professional, please join Endangered Bodies Australia so we can keep you informed and let you know of the many ways you can be involved both now and in the future.
You can read the letter by clicking on the image below.
Her story is remarkable. Her suffering indescribable. Her resilience and love for life unmatchable
A year ago I wrote about the amazing reunion I had with a woman who I’d been privileged to help find safety and protection in Australia. Carrie Bailee had escaped a paedophile/pornography ring run by her father in Canada. She described her remarkable experience here. At the time I wrote: “Her story is remarkable. Her suffering indescribable. Her resilience and love for life unmatchable”.
Now that story has become a book. Carrie’s autobiography ‘Flying on Broken Wings: A Journey of Unimaginable Betrayal, Resilience and Hope’ will be published by Affirm Press next month.
Carrie Bailee fled Canada and came to Australia when she was twenty. Once here she was assisted by a number of Australian women, and was ultimately encouraged to apply for refugee status in order to stay in this country. So began her battle to be granted asylum in Australia. Carrie stood before the Refugee Review Tribunal and revealed the dark underbelly of child sexual abuse and organised crime rings in our privileged, first-world neighbourhoods.
This is the story of one young woman’s heroic journey to survive, escape and soar above her shocking childhood experiences, and her powerful struggle for freedom and a beautiful life in Australia.
‘Moving, inspirational … Unforgettable! A compelling story of hope. I urge you to read this book.’ - Sigrid Thornton
Car parts and service chain Ultra Tune are facing a flood of complaints on social media in response to its sexist ‘We’re into rubber’ TV commercial. The BDSM themed ad for car tyres depicts two rubber-clad dominatrix women brandishing a whip and feigning sexual arousal as they caress the tyres, while a male employee smiles and nods to himself, signifying his enjoyment.
Ultra Tune’s Facebook page has become overrun with complaints by men and women who have seen the commercial, pledging to not have their car serviced at Ultra Tunes while women are depicted as “fetish objects” to sell products and services.
Ultra Tune’s sexist commercial has already made the list of Top Ten most complained about commercials this year, with at least twenty formal complaints made to the Advertising Standards Bureau for being ‘exploitative and degrading to women’, some noting the sexism already prevalent in the automotive industry, others the inappropriate time slot during ad breaks for sporting events and other seemingly family-friendly viewing times. In typical form, the ASB dismissed complaints, ruling that rubber clad dominatrix women were relevant to the product being sold.
Ultra Tune defended their commercial by saying “it did not include graphic nudity” and “the women were renumerated” for their work. While we are appreciative Ultra Tune managed to promote car accessories without graphic nudity, and super impressed they paid the women for their work, this is not good enough.
Ultra Tune have a history of using sexism to promote their services, including this 2011 commercial portraying women as dumb.
One woman, Jodie Swales, saw Ultra Tune’s “revolting” ad during the Sunday afternoon football game. The very next morning she made a phone call to Richard Coppock, Ultra Tune’s National Operations Manager to tell him what she thought of the ad. He admitted they had received many complaints, claiming he would address the situation.
After weeks of silence and ignored emails and upon seeing the ad was still being shown, Jodie sat down and emailed every Ultra Tune franchise in the country to tell them how the advertising demeaned women. Here are some of the surprising responses she received back:
“I agree completely with your comments and find almost all the ads produced to be highly offensive.”
“I apologize for the ad… I have also told head office it is a terrible ad and degrading to women so I totally agree with you.”
“All franchise owners are disgusted in the ad and we have asked for the ad to be taken off air.”
“I could not agree with you more, as a Franchise owner i am appalled at the current advertising [and I] complained to Ultra tune head office on day one.”
“We are doing are best to get the ad removed!”
“Many of the franchisees feel the same way as you.”
Jodie didn’t stop there- she launched a petition on change.org calling on Richard Coppock from Ultra Tune to withdraw the sexist and demeaning ad campaign, which also featured similar images on their website.
In an email response to her petition, Richard claimed, “This advertisement in question has and continues to receive mass media exposure and acclaim.” He also hides behind the absurd reasoning the Ad Standards Board used to dismiss the complaint: “Their depiction of wearing rubber outfits is seen to be relevant to the range of rubber tyre products offered by Ultra Tune Centres.”
Please sign Jodie’s petition and help us to send a message to Ultra Tune that sexism doesn’t sell.
Mainstreaming and normalising the abuse and exploitation of women
The Sex Factor is a new reality TV program where contestants compete for the chance to become a porn star. It will be shown exclusively online. The Sex Factor is setting to profit from the mainstreaming of pornography and legitimising it as an attractive career choice for young women. It is also normalising violence against women, given what we know porn ‘performers’ suffer in the industry.
While discussions of the harms of pornography often focus on the damage to children, to the healthy sexuality of porn consumers and the damage to women as a whole, it is important to also acknowledge the harms to those (particularly women) in the industry. While the porn industry works hard to portray pornography as a glamorous and liberating career choice, many of the female performers speak of violence, exploitation and abuse.
A common misconception about pornography is that it is just people having sex on camera. However, in mainstream pornography violence is now the norm, with men inflicting violence and abuse against women who are forced to submit to body-punishing and humiliating sex acts. A 2010 study of the fifty most popular pornographic DVD titles found that 88% of scenes included violence. Of these, 95% depicted violence against women by men.
One need look no further than the industry’s own Adult Video News website to see the best-selling pornographic films to see sexualized violence against women, misogyny, incest and pseudo-child pornography in titles like the following: (Warning, graphic)
Deep Ass f*cking with young girls Gape Me 2 Daughter Does Daddy I wanna buttf*ck your daughter 16
The plot synopsis for each of these films lists the body punishing, humiliating sex acts inflicted on women including anal sex, cumshots (men ejaculating on women’s faces), multiple penetrations and ATM (Ass To Mouth, anal sex immediately followed by fellatio). These acts are designed do maximum physical damage to the woman. The damage to the female performers is often the drawcard, with descriptive phrases such as “red, glistening anal prolapse”, “gaping buttholes”, “prolapsing rectum”, “with her ass impaled on his boner”.
One of the judges on The Sex Factor is Miriam Weeks (aka Belle Knox, the Duke Porn Star.) Despite claims of empowerment, behind-the-scenes footage shows Weeks being choked, slapped and abused during filming. You can view a slightly censored version here- Warning, distressing content.
Activist Shelley Lubben, who exited the porn industry, exposed the abuse of women in the porn industry in this secret footage taken on a porn set. You can view a slightly censored video here- Warning, distressing content.
Many women who have exited the pornography industry have opened up and shared their experiences of body punishing sex acts, brutal physical abuse and injuries so severe they required surgery.
Female Performers recount incidents of physical violence against them in pornography.
”My first movie I was treated very rough by 3 guys. They pounded on me, gagged me with their penises, and tossed me around like I was a ball! I was sore, hurting and could barely walk. My insides burned and hurt so badly. I could barely pee and to try to have a bowel movement was out of the question. I was hurting so bad from the physical abuse from these 3 male porn stars.” -Alexa Milano Read more here.
”Guys punching you in the face. You have semen from many guys all over your face, in your eyes. You get ripped. Your insides can come out of you. It’s never ending.” -Jersey Jaxin Read more here.
(After being whipped and caned for 35 minutes) “I’ve never received a beating like that before in my life. I have permanent scars up and down the backs of my thighs. It was all things that I had consented to, but I didn’t know quite the brutality of what was about to happen to me until I was in it.”- Alexander Read more here.
“I was crying and crying, which was not against their shooting rules. There was a male dominant and a male videographer and a female photographer. I kept looking to her to save me.”-Princess Donna Read more here.
“I got the shit kicked out of me. I was told before the video – and they said this very proudly, mind you – that in this line most of the girls start crying because they’re hurting so bad . . . I couldn’t breathe. I was being hit and choked. I was really upset, and they didn’t stop. They kept filming. You can hear me say, ‘Turn the f*cking camera off’, and they kept going.”-Regan Starr Read more here.
If you are still not convinced, you can read more stories of physical abuse to female porn performers here.
Many more performers also report rampant drug use, depression, trauma and suicide attempts.
“It was torture for seven years. I was miserable, I was lonely. I eventually turned to drugs and alcohol…to numb my pain and get me through…and attempted suicide. I knew I wanted out, but I didn’t know how to get out.” -Jenna Presley Read more here.
“I’m not happy… I don’t like myself at all… My whole entire body feels it when I’m doing it and… I feel so — so gross. I hung out with a lot of people in the Adult industry, everybody from contract girls to gonzo actresses. Everybody has the same problems. Everybody is on drugs. It’s an empty lifestyle trying to fill up a void.” – Belladonna Read more here.
“I became horribly addicted to heroin and crack. I overdosed at least 3 times, had tricks pull knives on me, have been beaten half to death.” -Becca Brat Read more here.
”I honestly felt that if I had to have another strange man in my face, his hands (God knows where they’ve been all over me) him calling me his baby and having to exude some sort of forged passion for the world to see, I probably would have exploded. And what would have been stuck to the walls would have probably been nothing, just pieces of skin, bone, the brain of a robot, and what would have been left of what would have existed once as a huge and warm heart.”-Ashlyn Brooke Read more here.
Others still reported catching incurable STIs.
”After only 30 movies I caught two sexually transmitted diseases. Herpes, a non-curable disease and HPV, which led to cervical cancer where I had to have half of my cervix removed. Porn destroyed my life.”- Roxy Read more here.
”As for myself, I ended up paying the price from working in the porn industry. In 2006, not even 9 months in, I caught a moderate form of dysplasia of the cervix (which is a form of HPV, a sexually transmitted disease) and later that day, I also found out I was pregnant. I had only 1 choice which was to abort the baby during my first month. It was extremely painful emotionally and physically. When it was all over, I cried my eyes out.”-Tamra Toryn Read more here.
Given the horrific, abusive and even criminal treatment of female performers, why would entry into the pornography industry be a prize? Who is really winning here?
Last week one of our supporters, Rachel, contacted us regarding Perth-based coffee company Fresh One’s Facebook page, full of sexist and porn-inspired advertising material.
Click here to view images (Warning, graphic content)
Fresh One’s ads included sexually objectifying images of women’s bodies alongside demeaning slogans, as well as images of simulated sex acts. The ‘About’ section on their Facebook page reads:
Grind me, bathe me in hot steamy water, moisten me with cream if you must. Have it your way, any way, a mouthful of my beans will leave you in ecstasy.
Hundreds of Facebook users posted their objections to the objectifying and degrading content, arguing that such blatant sexism was alienating women as well as men who respect women, and threatening to boycott. Over the course of the week, Fresh One’s star rating went from five stars to one and a half stars, after which Fresh One disabled the review application.
Fresh One responded to complaints last night with this post, alongside a BDSM inspired picture of a dominatrix. You can see their email response to Verina here.
“Aside from a desire to stand out from competitive providers, we believe that coffee culture goes far deeper. The Fresh One is about an approach to life, its about living to 100%, challenging the status quo! It is important to note that it has not been at any time nor will be in the future the intention of Fresh One to degrade, sexualize or objectify any person, gender or cultural group…. Whilst we can appreciate a person’s right to express their ultra conservative views we vehemently defend our right to promote our brand in the evocative and gregarious way we do.” (Bold added.)
One commenter responded:
“[Fresh One] seem to be under the impression that reducing women to objects for men’s use is new and edgy, “challenging the status quo”.
Criticism of Fresh One’s outdated and misogynistic advertising is not “ultra-conservative”. It’s progressive. If Fresh One believes using sexually objectifying and porn-inspired images of women’s bodies to sell coffee is acceptable in this day and age, they are ultra-conservative.
Fresh One, is your product so poor that misogyny was the only way you could think of to divert attention from it?”
Fresh One responded further by deleting comments and banning users who had made complaints.
Schick For Men criticised for using sexual objectification of women to sell razors
Last week Lucy, one of our supporters, alerted us to Schick For Men’s sexist and objectifying new commercial and competition. The commercial depicted a young woman ripping off her t-shirt, urging viewers to ‘click here to see what happens next’. Upon following the link, viewers were directed to a video of the same woman, topless, with various objects obscuring her naked breasts from view.
Using a topless woman or a woman’s breasts to sell male hygiene products is classic objectification. Speaking to the media, WA State Coordinator Caitlin Roper commented,” People say ‘sex sells’. Sex doesn’t sell. Sexually objectified images of women’s bodies sells. It’s not new, it’s not clever, it’s not creative and if they have to resort to that, it leads me to think they’re not confident in the quality of their product.”
Alongside the advertisement was a competition inviting Facebook users to ‘get closer to’ the model of their choice, by having a picture of their face emblazoned across her t-shirt. We encouraged our supporters to hijack Schick’s competition by entering their own submissions reflecting a more positive view of women. At one point, our submissions outnumbered the serious ones. You can see the full collection of submissions here.
This isn’t the first time Collective Shout supporters have subverted similar sexist campaigns. Last year, we criticized Australia’s Next Top Model for their competition inviting young modeling hopefuls to post sexy photos of themselves on social media. We found entries of young and underage girls (one as young as nine) in sexualized poses, often even with identifying information such as their name and school. We called out ANTM for failing to protect these young people and for sending the message that women should be valued primarily for their beauty and sex appeal, and started our own #NextTopPredator hashtag.
We also ran a similar campaign in response to Mossimo’s sex-industry inspired ‘Peepshow’ competition. One of our activists, Nicole Jameson, won the competition.
Advertisers and marketers need to understand that sexism as a marketing ploy is no longer acceptable, and people will no longer tolerate the sexual objectification of women to sell unrelated products.
Antoinette Jones – Principal – Mitcham Girls High School
“Intelligent, passionate, brilliant, fearless… I could not recommend her more highly”
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
“You continue to reset my shock meter…”
“As a teacher and parent I recommend all parents, in fact all people, to attend a talk by Melinda- it will open your eyes and awaken your subconscious.”
Heather Douglas – Parent – Pembroke School
“Melinda’s presentations to our parents, staff and full day workshops to students was inspirational, transforming the attitudes and thinking of all involved”
Paul Teys – Principal – Hunter Valley Grammar
“Melinda Tankard Reist’s presentation to Middle and Upper School students at Pymble Ladies’ College was absolutely brilliant!”
Justine Hodgson – English Faculty, Pymble Ladies’ College
“Melinda Tankard Reist has had a transformational affect on our school.”
Ms Stephanie McConnell, Principal – Turramurra High School
Purchase Big Porn Inc, Getting Real, Faking It, Men of Honour, Sexts Texts & Selfies, Raising Girls, Raising Boys, MTR DVD, Ruby Who? DVD & book, Girl Wise guide to friends, Girl Wise guide to being you, Girl Wise guide to life and Girl Wise guide to taking care of your body, for the combined discounted price of $240.
‘The foremost authority in Australia cyber safety lays it on the line and challenges parents to find their digital spine.’ – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
Whether it is problems with friends, worrying about how you look or just feeling a bit down in the dumps – these books are written especially for you – to help you in your journey. Purchase all four together and save $18.50 on postage! Author: Sharon Witt
In this DVD, Melinda takes us on a visual tour of popular culture. “Melinda’s presentation leaves audiences reeling. She delivers her message with a clarity and commonsense without peer.” – Steve Biddulph, author, Raising Boys, Raising Girls
In this easy-to-read updated book, Steve Biddulph shares powerful stories and give practical advice about every aspect of boyhood.
“Overflowing with incisive understandings…a comprehensive and in-depth guide.” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychologist
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.
Purchase the Ruby Who? DVD and book together for only $35 saving 10% off the individual price.
“This powerful and humane book is a breakthrough…Big Porn Inc shows us we are poisoning our own spirits.” – Steve Biddulph
“A landmark publication” – Clive Hamilton
“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.