Have you seen the recent bus “gang rape-inspired” photo shoot in India? Or Vogue Italia’s video showing a woman killed by an intruder in her house? Or the Bulgarian makeup ad showing bruised women with the tagline “Victim of Beauty”?
There appears to be a theme of fashion advertising increasingly using images of women being killed or tortured or violated in some way, usually by men.
What’s this all about?
In response to our petition Isuzu has agreed to remove its “x rated” sex tourism competition.
More than 1000 people signed the petition in the first 24 hours. In the end we received a total of 3608 supporters. It was great see see so many men like me express outrage about this too!
Isuzu announced the campaign would be pulled in a statement posted to Facebook:
It has been brought to our attention that recent advertising promoting The X-Runner has caused concern and offence to some viewers. We chose Thailand as the destination of the X-Runner competition prize as it is the ‘home’ of the D-MAX and for no other reason. We understand the associated imagery and language in the campaign may have confused some viewers as to the intent of this prize. On behalf of Isuzu UTE Australia, we sincerely apologise. As such, we have removed this advertising from our campaign and will implement a new creative direction.
While we were glad to see Isuzu’s announcement that they would withdraw the campaign, we found it hard to believe that the suggestion of sex tourism was unintended and certainly didn’t agree that there was any “confusion” on our part. Red light district imagery, flashing neon signs saying “girls girls” and wording such as “so hot its almost illegal” made the nature of this competition very clear. Further to that, those entering the competition had to “decode” a pixelated image and submit a guess about what was underneath. The correct answer was “SOI Cowboy” a red light district in Bangkok.
The only thing confusing about this ad campaign was that it was created and approved!
We sought further clarification from Isuzu. Isuzu admits the campaign was short sighted and harmful. Isuzu says the petition has had a huge impact on all involved and is making sure the Isuzu team both here and internationally are more informed about the issues surrounding sex tourism and trafficking. Isuzu informs us that this is very important to them as they have been supporters of anti trafficking and child protection charities. We are reassured by Isuzu that it will never produce an ad campaign like this again.
This is a fantastic result and we are pleased to hear Isuzu’s commitment to avoid exploitative marketing in future.
Thank you to all who signed this petition. Your participation in this campaign has sent a strong message not only to Isuzu, but to the broader community that sexual exploitation and sex tourism is completely unacceptable. With sex trafficking continuing to be a huge problem worldwide, it is more important than ever that we keep talking about this.
Positive Aussie Image
Dave began Positive Aussie Image in order to start an ongoing conversation about sex tourism, trafficking and why Australian men need to take a stand against sexual exploitation. Click here to visit Positive Aussie Image.
Isuzu Ute Australia is holding an “X rated” competition to promote a new model Ute. Displaying the the text “The New “XRated D-Max” Isuzu is offering “5 hot nights”for “you and three mates” as the prize. Advertising imagery and associated text makes it clear that this prize amounts to sex tourism.
(click image to enlarge)
“Welcome to the Home of the new isuzu x-runner, the ute that’s so good looking we’ve had to give it an x rating. Go on, have a perve.”
Thailand is widely known to be a hot spot for human trafficking and child prostitution. It hosts Asia’s largest sex industry and it is common to see white men walking the streets with young asian girls.
According to humantrafficking.org , Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. Bangkok is a hub of sexual exploitation of women and children in the Greater Mekong sub-region.
And yet Isuzu describes this prize as ”the trip-of-a-lifetime…taking in all the Thai capital has to offer.”
It is estimated that 250,000 Western male tourists visit Thailand every year for the purposes of sex tourism. We should be absolutely ashamed that 32,500 of these are Australian men.
This is worth repeating – despite widespread community outrage about child sex abuse, and condemnation for those who commit such abuse, an estimated 32,500 Australian men visit Thailand every year to purchase women and girls for sex,many of whom are in conditions of sexual slavery. Many of these girls entered the sex industry unwillingly and were trafficked as children.
Unless we eliminate men’s demand for the bodies of women and children, we will never see an end to human sex trafficking. It is not acceptable for Isuzu to encourage such demand among its customers.
Men and Women we invite you to take a stand against sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Isuzu must cancel the competition and withdraw its “X rated” themed advertising immediately.
Wicked Campers has once again violated Advertising Standards with its latest slogan “fat girls are harder to kidnap.” The vehicle hire company is a repeat offender, well known for printing vile and degrading slogans on its vans.
The Ad Standards Board has upheld many complaints against this company, but as reported by Mumbrella, Wicked Campers no longer bother to respond to such rulings.
Why would they? There’s money to be made – sexist, pornified messages are apparently a big hit – and there are no penalties for violating advertising standards. According to Wicked Campers, even violating the law is worth it. Here’s Wicked Campers on Facebook, mocking Queensland Police and gloating about the cheap fines!
Here’s a sample of some of the other misogynist messages Wicked Campers broadcast in the public space.
The Qld Government recently held an inquiry to determine whether the current system of advertising industry self-regulation is sufficient to prevent sexualised, objectifying or otherwise inappropriate content being broadcast in the public space.
Collective Shout participated in the inquiry and argued that self-regulation does not work. Wicked Campers is just one example of a repeat offender continually defying the advertising industry code of ethics.
The Parliamentary Committee Report was released in January 2014 with a list of recommendations which if acted on, would stop companies like Wicked Campers in their tracks.
Recommendations include significant and ever increasing fines for repeat offenders and a requirement for recalcitrant advertisers to submit to pre-vetting of future ad campaigns. We are calling on the Attorney General, the Minister for communities and child safety and the Qld Premier to act on these recommendations and make them law.
Violence against women is no joke and Wicked Campers have gotten away with this behaviour for too long. Your voice will make a difference!
Attorney General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister for Communities, Child Safety, Tracy Davis: email@example.com
Premier Campbell Newman: firstname.lastname@example.org
You might like to make the following points in your email:
I/We support the recommendations in the Parliamentary Committee Report for the Inquiry into sexually explicit outdoor advertising especially those that discuss financial penalties for advertisers that repeatedly violate the code of ethics
Companies like Wicked Campers should not be allowed to use slogans that degrade women and make light of violence against them for profit
Please take action on these recommendations and make them law.
Your voice DOES make a difference! If you have any questions, let us know in comments below. If you leave a valid email address (we will not publish your email address online) we can respond to your enquiry via email.
In 147 pages of beauty and fashion shopping, advice and advertising , along with tips on catching your “crush” this summer, there are, fortunately, a few articles that will actually help girls.
As you know, I always search for the personal stories which convey the reality of girls’ lives as well as inspiring resilience and hope. Not all girls are as carefree as the slim, sun-kissed, smooth bum-cheeked, glowing girls in the full page Rip Curl ads (as noted in the past, the re-touch free zone and claims to want to represent a diversity of bodies in young girl mag pages, has never incorporated advertising).
I commend Dolly’s editors for the piece ‘Life as a young carer’. Most of us have no idea of the reality of so many young people who care for physically and mentally ill parents or siblings. There are 347,700 young carers in Australia – about two teen carers in every classroom. 56% of young primary carers are not employed or at school. Jazelle, 18, has been primary carer for her mum since she was 10. Her mother broke her back in a motorbike accident as a teen however needed more help when she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease five years ago. She is in and out of hospital and because she requires so much care, Jazelle does distance education. A timeline of an average day for Jazelle shows the extent of her caring role. Carers have the lowest level of wellbeing of any Australian group, with over half reporting some level of depression and need more support. Support can be found through your local Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre on 1800 242 636 or youngcarers.net.au for services in your local area. Dolly has initiated Young Carers Week (November 25 – December 1) – not much time for readers to act given this is the December issue, however hopefully the week will be more developed for next year. Readers are encouraged to reach out to any young carers at school, offer help and to send messages through Dolly to young carers. I really hope they do. Read more here.
The festive season is here. You only need to look at the latest shopping centre catalogues, online stores and even your facebook news feed to see that companies are working hard to compete for your Xmas dollar.
But lets not forget which of these companies have used sexploitation to flog their products in 2013! Before you buy gifts for friends and family, check our list. Vote with your dollar and boycott companies that have sexualised children and objectified women for profit in 2013.
City Beach – looks like a surf shop right? Take another look. City Beach has a long history of selling products with sexist, violent and porn inspired imagery to its youth market.
Images of objectified, naked women can be found on T-shirts, shorts, wallets, thongs and even pencil cases. Read more about City Beach.
Target sexes up violence against women with its ”50 shades of grey” branded Lingerie, based on the “erotic” BDSM novel of the same name.
Porn inspired billboard advertising for the brand included a woman posed submissively in suspender stockings and another woman pictured in lingerie with BDSM wrist restraints. Read more.
Bookworld, the online retailer formerly known as Borders was called out for selling hundreds of incest themed novels, typically eroticising rape of children by a father figure.
Bookworld put the issue down to a computer glitch and promised to resolve the issue. At the time of writing, these titles are still listed for sale online. Details may be distressing, but you can read more here.
Best and Less
Best and Less were selling matching “bra” and underpants sets for girls as young as two.
When asked why they thought a two year old girl needed a “bra” Best and Less agreed to remove the garments, referring to a store policy prohibiting the sale of “bra-like” products for children under 8. But they didn’t keep their word. Read more about Best and Less here.
Roxy released a trailer for the Roxy Pro Biarritz 2013 Women’s surf competition. The promo featured a topless woman writhing around in a bed and no actual surfing.
We supported a petition created by pro-surfer Cori Schumacher who called on Roxy to stop their “all sex no surf” advertising. Roxy responded by complaining about “mischaracterisations” of their brand. Read more here.
Cafepress has been exposed for selling baby “onesies” with slogans such as “SL_T all I need is U” and “No gag reflex”. Despite repeated reassurances by Cafepress that this content would be removed, similar items remain on sale. Read more about Cafepress.
Got Foxtel? Thinking of getting Foxtel? Give it a miss! The network produces the toxic “Australia’s next top model” program and this year it promoted the show with its “Next best selfie” promotion, which involved soliciting images from underage girls on social media.
An outdoor ad campaign for a Foxtel channel featured a man sodomising a pig. No joke. Read more here.
A Bonds “Boobs” outdoor advertising campaign to launch a new range of bras reinforced a dominant cultural message that “Boobs” are what is most important about a woman. Worse still, the ad campaign was justified as marking a renewed partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Breast cancer survivor Rachel Lonergan described the campaign as “peurile.” Read more here.
We’ve challenged Cotton On before for their sexualised baby bodysuits and their pornified t-shirts. The Cotton On group also owns Typo. Read more here.
Typo came under fire for its Back To School sale selling items such as coffee mugs, drink bottles, notebooks and i-phone covers with porn inspired images. Read more here.
Despite their Respect and Responsibility policy, the AFL have continued to remain silent while ex-Hawks player Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin used his status as an AFL player to flog his pornographic Nena and Pasadena clothing line. Read more here.
Lance Franklin owns and promotes Nena and Pasadena pornified fashion brand yet also markets his Buddy Ball to children, presenting himself as a role model for young boys.
Mossimo advertised its range of underwear with a promotion called “Mossimo Peepshow.” The Facebook “peepshow” competition invited entrants to upload images and compete for votes. We decided to submit an entry of our own.
Venues that hosted pro-rape rapper “Tyler the Creator” in 2013
Earlier this year we campaigned against ‘rape-is-fun’ rapper Tyler the Creator. Surely venues hosting the events would cancel once they learned of his violent and degrading lyrics?
We haven’t forgotten about the weak response from these venues. Particularly, the Eatons Hill Hotel which still refused to cancel the final show in Brisbane after reports that a young woman had being raped at Tyler’s Sydney gig the night before.
Do you have anything to add to our list? Let us know what brands you will be boycotting in the lead up to Christmas. Better still, tell us about some positive alternatives. Which brands do you support and why? Post details in the comments below – together we can create a list of positive options!
To get things started, check out these two online sellers.
Toward the Stars
Toward the Stars – a safe haven from the commercialisation and sexualisation of girlhood, from the toxic gender stereotypes that dominate the marketing, media, and products targeted to children and young adults.
Gifted Hands – a not for profit organisation raising awareness and funding to help charities and organisations who support the widow, needy and homeless both here in Australia and overseas. Visit site.
A female teacher at a Tasmanian school where I spoke on the objectification of women could not stay to hear the end of my talk.
The images I showed were too confronting, bringing back traumas suffered two decades ago.
”The very acts that have become part of my trauma were there on display as a part of mainstream culture,” she said.
Do advertisers, editors, fashion, music and video-game producers think about how their violent images traumatise female survivors of sexual abuse and degradation?
T-shirts in surf stores depict women naked, bound and splattered in blood. Mainstream advertising shows women pinned down in simulated gang-rape scenes, tied up in cars boots, buried, chopped into pieces, decapitated. Women are shown as passive, vulnerable, often naked and as sex aids.
These images, among 200 in my presentation, took Genevieve back 20 years.
Once an idealistic young person, Genevieve worked hard to turn her love of acting and performing arts into admission to a prestigious performing arts school.
”It went without saying that you did not get in just on talent, but on marketability,” she says.
”I remember consciously dressing in a low-cut body suit and tight jeans aware that my acting skills were only part of my ticket in. From that moment on, I was a commodity and accepted treatment as such.”
Groomed by a lecturer, she ended up drugged and sexually assaulted for three days by five men. Each played out fantasies that were listed in explicit writing on the walls. Because of their power and status, she didn’t go to the police, fearing retribution.
She also felt that being cross-examined in the courts would retraumatise her. She had seen what had happened to other victims.
What Genevieve suffered came back to her as I spoke. Seeing my images caused her to panic. Her heart beat rapidly, she went into a hot sweat and she felt herself dissociating and losing time.
She says she felt retraumatised. ”I could feel a rising wave of fear. I’ve spent 20 years rebuilding my life. Every day I have to make a wall between me and the world. I’m so busy trying to protect myself. Deviant behaviour is now on public display every day.”
Do those who profit from the images they use to sell things even care about the impact on women like Genevieve? She is worried about the normalising of these images to children. ”What hope do my boys have of knowing where the line is? What hope does a girl who experiences these things have of getting understanding and support when she is confronted by constant exposure to images that say it is OK?” Genevieve asks.
Two years ago, Brian McFadden (his fiancee at the time, Delta Goodrem, was an anti-violence ambassador) released a song titled Just the way you are (Drunk at the Bar), which contains the lines: ”I like you just the way you are, drunk as shit dancing at the bar, I can’t wait to take you home so I can do some damage … I can’t wait to take you home so I can take advantage.”
In response, one survivor wrote in a comment on my blog:
”So, Brian McFadden, do you think this is something to poke fun at? Does my story deserve its own catchy tune and rounds of laughter and applause because you were so clever to come up with something witty that ultimately diminishes the trauma of my experience and belittles my feelings about it?”
Such imagery and words, as used by McFadden, create a harmful cultural narrative about what it means to be a woman today. Media and popular culture reflect values. Any reading of the social landscape tells us women are really only good for one thing: to be used sexually.
Anti-violence campaigner and sexual assault survivor Kate Ravenscroft points out that one in three women is a victim of violence, yet the trauma of their experience is diminished and belittled.
The cultural messages that make violence appear sexy are part of the same culture in which victims of sexual assault have to survive.
”Seeing that violence treated flippantly, carelessly, can be devastating,” she says.
Women like Genevieve battle to control rising panic most days, everywhere they go, because the acts done to them are on display so casually, with the tacit approval of governments who love to repeat a mantra that self-regulation is working. It’s not, and it’s real women who are hurt because of it.
Complete disregard for the wellbeing and safety of young girls
Last night Foxtel gave this response to our criticism of it facilitating a sexualising contest of adult beauty standards to promote Australia’s Next Top Model.
“There’s no doubt that the socially engaged fans of Australia’s Next Top Model have embraced Australia’s Next Top Selfie. The “selfie” is a global social media phenomenon that is fun and light-hearted – just like this promotion.”
This may well be the most pathetic, socially irresponsible response I have ever seen from a corporate in my many years of activism. Foxtel has shown compete disregard for the safety and wellbeing of girls. The company doesn’t give a damn that images of underage girls are likely being snagged and captured right now and forwarded to porn sites.
The response is devoid of any sense of responsibility for facilitating and enabling this.
Foxtel seems happy to exploit the bodies of underage girls to promote its modelling competition.
Here’s the story in Mumbrella today
Foxtel faces social media backlash with Australia’s #NextTopPredator hashtag
A Fox8 social media promotion for Australia’s Next Top Model urging people to take ‘selfies’ and post them on Instagram is facing a social media backlash by a group of feminist activists launching the hashtag Australia’s #NextTopPredator to counter the competition.
The activists, who include social commentator Melinda Tankard Reist, claim girls, as young as nine, are posting images of themselves in sexual poses and are instead urging people to enter the competition with positive messages.
“Research by the Internet Watch Foundation tells us that 88 per cent of self made images posted by girls online are captured sent to porn websites,” claimed Tankard Reist. They are snatched and captured and sent to what are known as parasite pornsites,” she said. “These girls have no idea that their images could be going there and here is Australia’s Next Top Model is soliciting this.”
Under the rules of the competition any Australian resident can enter the competition. Those under the age of 18 must have parental permission. To date there have been more than 50,000 entries in the competition.
As part of the competition there is also a moderated live feed of the images from the competition which is being posted to the ANTM home page.
Foxtel faces social media backlash with Australias #NextTopPredator hashtag Top model 468x492However, a search of the competition hashtag #antmselfie on Twitter and Instagram shows that among the entries from adults are images of girls who have entered the competition as as young as eight or nine dressed in swim suits and other revealing clothing.
“They’re got some rules about who can enter the competition but they’re not stopping young girls from just sending entries in and they not deleting them,” said Tankard Reist.
“The images are all over Instagram and so we decided to engage in some culture jamming in creating our own hashtag and sending out positive messages to girls.
Entries on the rival #nexttoppredator hashtag
A spokesman for Fox8 said: “There’s no doubt that the socially engaged fans of Australia’s Next Top Model have embraced Australia’s Next Top Selfie. The “selfie” is a global social media phenomenon that is fun and light-hearted – just like this promotion,” said the Fox8 spokesman.
Tankard Reist said: “The response is devoid of any sense of responsibility for facilitating and enabling this.”
Tankard Reist has shown images to Mumbrella entered for the competition featuring girls clearly only in their early teens which are not appropriate for re-publication here.
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
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‘The foremost authority in Australia cyber safety lays it on the line and challenges parents to find their digital spine.’ – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
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
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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.
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“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.