The AFL (Australian Football League) is committed to tackling the issues of violence against women. Their support of White Ribbon has been long standing with many AFL managers and players participating in White Ribbon’s Ambassador Program, and their commitment to driving change is also reflected through their respect and responsibility programs.
Their commitment to driving change is reflected through their respect and responsibility programs.
The fact is that the AFL is neglecting its responsibility to address and discipline Buddy Franklin for depicting women in degrading and sexist ways in a clothing line he co-owns. I wrote about it in my Sunday Herald Sun column.
White Ribbon gets money from the AFL. In turn, the AFL gets White Ribbon Day endorsement which makes them look good.
Of course we support any efforts to eradicate violence against women. We believe it is imperative that good men speak out against this epidemic. We commend White Ribbon for continuing to educate and create awareness about this issue and for “denouncing initiatives that objectify or exploit women.”
Last year White Ribbon joined 64 other experts and organisations as a signatory to an open letter Collective Shout published, titled ‘Retailers urged to cease the sale and distribution of porn t.shirts’. The letter protested the growing trend of men’s clothing with porn- themed and sexually objectifying images of women’s bodies. We were pleased to have White Ribbon on board.
It’s therefore troubling to us that campaign heads have said nothing about Franklin or about the AFL’s refusal to act. We hope sponsorship doesn’t buy silence.
We wrote to White Ribbon back in July about this. There has so far been no reply.
We also had the opportunity to raise the matter directly with the AFL in September. Still no reply.
‘Our Say’ invited readers to post a question they would like to have asked at the AFL Grand Final lunch at the Melbourne Press Club September 20. Collective Shout’s WA coordinator Caitlin Roper sent in this question, which attracted the most votes to be asked at the function.
The AFL’s Respect and Responsibility Policy “represents the Australian Football League’s commitment to addressing violence against women and to work towards creating safe, supportive and inclusive environments for women and girls across the football industry as well as the broader community”. Hawthorn player Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin is part owner of Nena and Pasadena and Neverland (clothing) store, a brand renowned for its clothing with sexually objectifying and degrading imagery of women. Franklin currently features in promotional videos and images both on the brand’s website and in national clothing retailers like City Beach. Despite protests, the AFL have failed to address Franklin’s continued breach of the R&R policy. Why has the AFL failed to address this?
However the lunch was cancelled following the tragic death of AFL footballer John McCarthy. ‘Our Say’ have told us they asked the panelists to answer Caitlin’s question, but so far she’s heard nothing. The following article by Caitlin is an expanded version of a post that appeared at Our Say (they censored some of the more distressing stuff). Here’s the uncensored version.
Picture women naked on all fours, topless, headless and faceless, women handcuffed and bound, naked on the ground. Or even just various body parts, a naked backside, exposed breasts, a torso. Women sexually objectified, posed in weak, vulnerable poses and reduced to mere sexy body parts. Apparently this is Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin’s idea of respect for women.
I first came across ‘Nena and Pasadena’, Franklin’s pornographic fashion line, in February of 2011. It was hard to miss, given a billboard featuring the AFL star wearing a shirt depicting a women’s backside.
The Respect and Responsibility Policy represents the Australian Football League’s commitment to addressing violence against women and to work towards creating safe, supportive and inclusive environments for women and girls across the football industry as well as the broader community.
The Respect and Responsibility Policy is about shifting attitudes – ensuring that people throughout the Australian Football industry are aware, and have structures in place, that recognize that violence against women and behavior that harms or degrades women, is never acceptable.
Surely t-shirt images that depicted women as objects to provide sexual gratification could not be in line with this policy? Concerned citizens, including supporters of Collective Shout, contacted the AFL back in February of last year, with no response. As a mother of a six-year-old beginning Auskick, I became uncomfortable with the supposed role models my son might be looking up to.
Nena and Pasadena’s own website listed Franklin as a ‘co-director’, as well as using his modeling images for marketing purposes. Franklin’s twitter named himself as ‘part-owner’ of the brand and the Neverland Store, a Melbourne store where he sold these and similar items. Franklin’s AFL profile was used to promote the brand on their website and Facebook page.
Fifteen months later, still with no response from the AFL regarding Buddy’s blatant breach of their policy, Collective Shout published a blog post containing evidence of Nena and Pasadena’s misogyny from their Facebook page. Pictures of semi-naked women were frequently posted, where fans were invited to rank them. Slogans like “F*ck bitches, get money” and a pornographic campaign video were shared. Fans were asked their best strategies for getting women into bed. Here are a few responses:
“Drop a roofie”
“I like to call it ‘the fight and struggle’”
“The skull drag to the bushes and then duck tape the mouth move”
“I hope to God they can’t run faster than me down that alleyway”
Nena and Pasadena encouraged jokes about raping women with their reply, “Keep em coming guys – this is very entertaining!”
Once the Herald Sun had picked up the story, and after fifteen months of ignoring the issue, the AFL suddenly felt compelled to condemn Franklin’s clothing line and claimed they would be “considering their options”. Franklin issued a statement the following day denying any significant involvement with the brand he had previously tweeted as ‘my brand’, ‘my store’. You can find photographic evidence of Franklin’s damage control here.
Months later my friends and Collective Shout Melbourne reps, Calvin and Lisa attended a game at the MCG along with a banner that read “Give porn tees the boot Buddy”, and within minutes, security had confiscated and destroyed it.
Members of the public continued to protest via twitter, using the official match hashtag. Hundreds of people signed an online petition to Hawthorn Football Club and the AFL.
It has been almost two years since the AFL have known about Buddy’s porn t-shirts, yet they have remained essentially silent, taking no effective action to uphold their own policy. When will we see the AFL taking sexism seriously? After countless allegations of players involved in sexual assault and now Franklin profiting from the degradation of women, maybe we don’t need to hear from the AFL. Their silence is deafening, telling us all we need to know.
As the AFL Finals get into full swing, the Melbourne Press Club will be holding its annual Footy Finals Lunch on Thursday 20th September. OurSay is working with the Melbourne Press Club to give you the chance to put forward a question for the panel.
“The AFL’s Respect and Responsibility Policy ‘represents the Australian Football League’s commitment to addressing violence against women and to work towards creating safe, supportive and inclusive environments for women and girls across the football industry as well as the broader community’. Hawthorn player Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin is part owner of Nena and Pasadena and Neverland (clothing) store, a brand renowned for clothing with sexually objectifying and degrading imagery of women. Franklin currently features in promotional videos and images both on the brand’s website and in national clothing retailers like City Beach. Despite protests, the AFL have failed to address Franklin’s continued breach of the R&R policy. Why has the AFL failed to address this?”
Will we get more AFL spin? Will the sporting body that gives money to the White Ribbon campaign against violence against women continue to demonstrate it doesn’t really care that one of its key players trades in objectified and degrading images of women?
Last week we wrote about AFL player Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, owner and director of sexist fashion label Nena and Pasadena. Our post resulted in significant media attention.
Within hours, Nena and Pasadena had removed all traces of Buddy Franklin from their facebook page. Franklin’s profile picture was replaced by their logo. All reference to Franklin (or the AFL) was removed from their page information along with all photos of him.
HAWTHORN star footballer Lance “Buddy” Franklin has released a special footy for kids called the Buddyball.
Using his award-winning profile, Franklin markets the “ultimate training buddy” to young lads who turn up at Auskick events.
But is he the kind of friend – or role model – boys need?
Franklin is co-director, owner and model of Nena and Pasadena, a clothing brand specialising in porn-inspired T-shirts.
It’s a company he is proud of.
In Franklin’s “fun and vibrant” brand, women are depicted naked or semi-naked. Some are headless or unclothed on all fours. His latest campaign video shows a fully naked woman.
An image on Nena and Pasadena’s Facebook page bears the slogan “F— bitches, get money”. Is that Franklin’s idea of fun?
On the same page, the street-wear brand encourages fans to send their tips for getting sex, offering prizes for the best strategies.
There are jokes about drugging and assaulting women. A few examples: “I like to call it the ‘fight and struggle’,” “the skull drag to the bushes and then duct tape the mouth move”, “I hope to God they can’t run faster than me down that alleyway”.
Another fan tweeted about a Nena and Pasadena T-shirt of two women kissing, that he would “like to smash there (sic) backdoors in”. That’s a reference to violent anal sex, if you didn’t know.
The company heartily encourages them: “Keep ‘em coming guys – this is very entertaining!”
Sharing your desires to brutalise and degrade women is “entertaining”, apparently.
This kind of everyday sexism is so normal and mainstream that objecting to it attracts a torrent of abuse.
The company says we don’t need to buy its products. No, but we are forced to see their porn-themed T-shirts in the public spaces we all inhabit. And positioning women as existing solely for male gratification harms all women (note, encouraging women to buy into their own objectification with a women’s range doesn’t make it any better).
But the entitled mini gods of the sporting world don’t like being called to account – even when they are in breach of their codes’ policies.
The AFL’s Respect and Responsibility Policy “represents the Australian Football League’s commitment to addressing violence against women and to work towards creating safe, supportive and inclusive environments for women and girls across the football industry as well as the broader community”.
“Violence against women and behaviour that harms or degrades women is never acceptable,” the code states.
Strong words. But when will Franklin be pulled into line?
Some of us have been trying to get the AFL to act on what appears to be Franklin’s normalisation of sexual representations of women for more than a year. Such depictions of women erode the AFL’s efforts to change the disrespectful attitudes of many of their players.
Buddyball reps say some of the proceeds from the ball’s sales go to help indigenous communities. That’s all good, but Franklin is effectively giving permission to men to treat women badly, including in those communities.
Franklin has now said he had asked his company to “remove all offensive imagery and comments that do not reflect my views, which they’ve done”. But he is still selling his offensive T-shirts, including from his Chapel St store.
You’d think the AFL would act more quickly, given its code and past efforts to rein in bad behaviour. Remember the AFL’s interactive DVD to help players understand that perhaps it’s not a good idea to pretend to be your best mate so you can have sex with his girlfriend?
Of course, disrespectful behaviour toward women isn’t the preserve of AFL players alone.
Sexual misconduct, harassment, indecent exposure, violence and other acts of contempt for women have been seen in all codes. The NRL has been rocked by sexual misconduct and allegations of sexual assault by high-profile players, exposed on ABC’s Four Corners in 2009.
SPORTSMEN continue to be implicated in crimes against women. Only this week Victoria Police has confirmed it will review the brief of evidence in the case against star St Kilda forward Stephen Milne, accused of rape in 2004. A 19-year-old accused Milne of raping her at Leigh Montagna’s house after a St Kilda club family day in 2004.
In the minds of too many sport stars, women are up for grabs, a conquest of the game.
In Channel 9′s player revue, before last year’s Grand Final, footballers from various teams “performed”. The show featured scantily dressed women with legs spread, a pole dancing scene and players with their hands down their pants simulating masturbation. All for the mad-keen boys watching the show before the big game.
It is time to address the culture of collusion in which sporting clubs offer little more than faint damnation for sexist behaviour.
The chief executives of sporting organisations should develop a code of conduct that would treat offences against women even more strictly than taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Franklin is a football ambassador. Boys look up to him. His personal code of conduct should be beyond disrepute.
By profiting from the degradation of women and hosting content intimating violence against them, he fails himself and the sport he represents and all the young men who see him as a hero.
AFL corporate affairs manager James Tonkin said the AFL didn’t condone the images used in Franklin’s clothing range.
“We consider it inappropriate and inconsistent with our respect and responsibility policy and we’ll be considering our options.”
Many women – including those whose sons are keen to play the game – will be waiting to see what that really means.
It’s rare to see a man talk so honestly about how frequent on-line porn use impacts real world relationships. While of course the author appears to be writing from a purely selfish perspective: this is how porn screws with my sexual relationships and why I gave it up for four days – rather than a realisation of its mass industrialised dehumanisation of women – at least it may give other men cause to examine their own compulsive habits. And, hopefully, for women to seek men who want something more than porn sex.
David Rothbart relays how porn re-shaped the desires of a number of men – men who previously had happy, loving relationships with their partners. Here’s what some of them told him.
Perry, 41, lawyer:
“I used to race home to have sex with my wife… Now I leave work a half-hour early so I can get home before she does and masturbate to porn…Not to be mean, but they’re younger, hotter, and wilder in the sack than my wife…Me and her, we still ‘do it’ and everything, but instead of every day, it’s maybe once a week. It’s like I’ve got this ‘other woman’ … and the ‘other woman’ is porn.”
Stefan, 43-year, composer:
“I’ve got to resort to playing scenes in my head that I’ve seen while viewing porn. Something is lost there. I’m no longer with my wife; I’m inside my own head.”
Ron, 27, architecture student:
“I guess I’ve been fading from her. It’s like all that time with these porn stars was subduing any physical desire for my girlfriend. And, in some weird way, my emotional need for her, too.”
And here’s what one woman had to say.
Sadie, 29 real-estate agent:
“There is no glory in trying to make love to men who only know how to f**k—man after man after man after man raised on porn…A lot of guys have come to expect P.S.E. [the ‘Porn-Star Experience’] as a common thing… A few [women] might enjoy it, but for most it’s harrowing. I think there’s a fear that if they can’t make it happen, their boyfriend will retreat online.”
Porn’s socialising effect on boys: girls pressured to provide naked images
In a piece titled ‘They Know What Boys Wants’ by Alex Morris, the New York Magazine also gave us an inside look at how porn is shaping the attitudes of boys towards the girls in their lives. Rarely is there the slow-burn of a relationship developing: girls are treated as living sexual performances from younger and younger ages. Porn conditions boys to becoming sexually demanding. Girls have to pay for relationships with sexual tokens. In an account relayed to me last year, a schoolgirl was told by a boy: “If you give me [oral sex] I’ll give you a kiss.”
This extract from the New York Magazine piece:
“I wouldn’t mind if they said, ‘Send me a picture of you,’ just a regular picture, with everything on,” says Samantha…“But it’s like the way they ask for it? Naked?”
Tricey nods. “It affects them, the Internet. The guys expect to just chat girls up online, but when y’all see each other and y’all go out or whatever, the only thing that they want to do is get in the bed.”
Star, who’s 14, rolls her eyes. “Yeah, that’s the only thing they talk about.”
“I think they’re pressured by the Internet,” says Tricey. “When you see some of those things, you actually get a negative mind.”
Samantha frowns. “They see a pretty girl on the computer, big boobs or whatever, so they’ll be like, ‘Okay, I want a girl like that.’ ”
Do you relate to any of these accounts? Willing to tell me about it? You can post as a blog comment or contact me through the form at the top of this page.
Kanye West petition update
Well wasn’t that fun. After being attacked and ridiculed in The Punch on Wednesday, I woke yesterday morning to find 2000 additional signatures on our Care2 petition protesting Kanye West’s horror porn music video Monster. Another 3000 were added during the day, which meant we had surpassed our goal of 10,000. There are now 13,500 signatures.
Buddy Franklin and Nena&Pasadena and their porn inspired tees update
The AFL has had nothing to say to my question asking how Hawks star Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin’s porn-inspired t.shirts fit in with the League’s ‘Respect and Responsibility policy. See my piece from ABC The Drum Unleashed here . Hello AFL, we’re waiting! Or don’t you think it matters that your players are flogging t.shirts which reduce women to sex objects?
Dull, derivative, repetitive
While we’re waiting for a response from the AFL, you must read this from a fashion industry insider, posted in comments to my ABC piece:
Fashion Merchandise Planner, 16 Feb 2011 9:07:28pm
You are seriously deluded if you think what you produce is fashion. Having worked in the industry for over 20 years for some of Australia’s leading retailers and fashion houses (both high end and mass market) I can tell you that what you produce is barely a blip on the Australian fashion scene and you wouldn’t rate a mention anywhere it counts… ‘edgy’ give me a break… bogan streetwear more like it. Maybe a Design Degree would give your ‘designers’ a richer troff to plunder from. The t-shirts are dull, derivative, repetitive and would do well in the markets. I don’t normally get personal but to sell your two bit company as an Australian success story is really stretching it. You produce unimaginative dull T-shirts for 20 somethings who think that a naked woman on a T-shirt is an artistic statement.
I am neither a Christian nor a prude just a highly successful and respected retail professional who has seen people like you come and go in droves. Believe your own marketing spin at your peril.
Lets have this conversation in two years time… or will you like the hundreds of other ‘talented designers’ crying into your beer and complaining that no one understands how you suffer for your art.
You produce unimaginative cheap T-shirts lets just call it what it is. You know sex sells and you are too dull to come up with anything better that tits and arse… congratulations you just discovered sex… like no one has ever done that before…
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