You’re about to be bombarded. Bombarded with junk mail, TV, radio and outdoor advertising all competing for your Christmas dollar. Before you purchase gifts for your friends and loved ones, lets remember those brands that have excelled in sexploitation this year, the brands and companies that do not deserve your hard earned money. Cross ’em off your Xmas list! For our third year running (see lists from 2010 and 2011) we are making it easier for you to make ethical decisions rejecting of companies which have not demonstrated corporate social responsibility.
As a first this year, we’ve added a positive alternative: Toward the Stars, an inspiring on-line global marketplace for products for girls. And we’re hoping to be able to add our first major corporate to sign on to our Corporate Social Responsibility Pledge. (Watch this space!) Here’s our list for 2012.
The popular youth surf store continues to push pornified products to young people. City Beach sells what we’ve called ‘porn t-shirts’ -clothing with pornified images of naked and semi naked women.
The range extends to thongs, hats and at the start of the year even pencil cases
were available at its ‘back to school’ sale. We’ve held protests outside City Beach stores in Brisbane and Sydney.
We’ve taken City Beach to the Equal Opportunities Commission and yet they refuse to budge. While City Beach insist on pimping porn accessories to the youth market, you insist on taking your Christmas shopping elsewhere.
Jewellery and accessories retailer Diva began selling Playboy branded jewellery
in 2011 to its target market of tween girls. (also read: The Age)
A petition through change.org accumulated over 8000 signatures and Diva withdrew much of its Playboy advertising and stock from the shelves. But dodgy Diva continued to sell their Playboy range from underneath the counter and stock has slowly crept back out on display in stores again over the past year.
When challenged again, Diva defended their Playboy range as marketed to their ‘mature’ customers. No matter their age, girls and women deserve better than being sold the merchandise of the global sex industry – when it comes to your Christmas shopping, drop Diva.
Lynx, men’s deodorant has continued to churn out their trademark sexist ads throughout 2012.
Lynx’s ‘controversial’ promotions – including the “Rules of Rugby” and the ‘Washes Your Balls’ promotion – are the perfect demonstration of how a company can misuse advertising industry self-regulation to its advantage. Create a ‘controversial ad’, wait for the complaints to roll in, cross promote with sexist ‘lads mags’ then cash in the dollars from the increased exposure. Lynx seems to think this manoeuvre will stop us from speaking out – it won’t.
And while you’re boycotting Lynx, you might want to give this brand a miss too…
What? Dove? The brand that brought us the campaign for real beauty? Absolutely! Dove is owned by Unilever, the same company who owns and markets Lynx. But the sexploitative hypocrisy doesn’t just stop there – under the Dove label, Unilever also sell a number of ‘skin whitening’ products, as well as anti-cellulite, breast-firming and breast growth creams. Making money off body dissatisfaction, sexual objectification AND positive body image campaigns? We’re not buying it Unilever.
In February this year, Mossimo ran a competition asking people to upload photographs to their Facebook “peep show” campaign. Images of Australia’s Miss Universe contestant in her underwear were given as examples, with the ‘peep’ which received the most votes winning a digital camera.
Despite the clear references to the sex industry as well as (the crime of) keyhole peeping on women, Mossimo denied any wrongdoing. The Advertising Standards Board saw it differently, upholding complaints about the campaign. Read about the online protest (and how we won a lovely new Canon camera!) against Mossimo here.
We wrote about General Pants explicit, sexist, and degrading advertising campaigns last year. They have a history of sex industry inspired stunts including live pole dance shows in their shop front windows. We have continued to hear from supporters about shop window displays and the images they display inside their change rooms. Give General Pants a miss.
The Buddy Ball
The Buddy Ball is the creation of AFL poster boy Lance “Buddy” Franklin. When Franklin’s not busy flogging over priced footballs to youngsters, he spends his time ‘co-directing’ Nena &Pasadena, a line of overpriced porn-inspired shirts, popular in surf stores such as City Beach.
In the past 12 months Franklin has brought us (caution when opening links) this, this and this. Posing as a role model for young boys, and then selling them the degradation of women to wear across their chests? We’re not buying it.
Despite being aware of Lance Franklin’s clothing line for almost two years, the AFL has refused to enforce their Respect and Responsibility policy and discipline Franklin. The AFL claims to be committed to addressing sexism and violence against women, but their silence and lack of action indicate they are not serious about these issues. Thinking of purchasing tickets, a membership or items from the AFL store? Think again.
Lovable is not so loveable following its ‘Besties’ campaign, which encouraged women to upload ‘selfies’ to its Facebook page. Jen Hawkins and fellow models, posed in their underwear, featured in the promotion. While the terms and conditions stated that participants didn’t need to upload images of themselves in underwear, the promotion sent mixed messages about cyber safety, prompting the Ad Standards Board to ban the promotion on this basis.
Of course, this is not the first time Lovable has objectified women – previous campaigns have also been so sexualised that they’ve been featured in the now defunct ‘FHM’ magazine.
Typo’s ‘back to school’ 2012 promotion pimped a wide range of porn-inspired travel mugs, iPod covers and notebooks to students. After parents complained and media caught on, Typo agreed to remove the ‘Porn is my saviour” and ”Dirty” ranges. While they withdrew these items, other items, including notebooks with sexual themes intended for school, remained in stores.
Typo are owned by the Cotton On group, who are serial offenders for selling porn t-shirts and sexploitative advertising campaigns.
These are companies that appeared on last year’s ‘crossed off’ list last and which have continued to use sexploitation throughout 2012.
A positive alternative – Introducing Toward the Stars
Created by Inês Almeida, Toward the Stars is an online market place and 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. A place full of gifts that inspire and enable girls to reach for the stars. Offering a venue that motivates and supports artists, business and craftspeople to innovate and explore new products that have the potential to change the world.
If you’re looking for gift ideas that will inspire and empower girls, check out Toward the Stars.
Now over to you!
Which stores will you be avoiding this year and why? Are there alternatives to the brands we’ve listed above? Please join the discussion in the comments section below and at Collective Shout.
‘Shine your light by taking a stand, not by taking part. It’s not too late’
US supergroup Switchfoot will be performing and signing posters at City Beach Queen Street store in Brisbane this afternoon.
While band members are at it with the pen and the posters, we’d like them to sign our Change.org petition calling on their special hosts, youth surf store City Beach, to remove porn-themed merchandise from sale.
It is a mystery to us why such a respected band would want to lend its good name to a company which trades in hyper-sexualised images of women and conditions and socialises young men to think of women only in terms of sexual gratification, as always available and ready for sex.
We don’t understand why a band known for its ethics in the industry would want to associate itself with a store selling a t.shirt with the image of a woman with a black eye, crying, under the wording “…It’s only illegal if you get caught”. Or the Hustler t.shirt “Talk Shit Get Hit”.
Why doesn’t Switchfoot come out and condemn these?
And is the band accepting money from the sale of porn and violence-themed t.shirts to do their gig today?
In a response to women who have protested Switchfoot lending their good name to City Beach in this cross promotion, the band says it has asked City Beach to remove porn themed products from the store while they are performing.
I wonder if there will be anything much left after that?
And sticking a pile of pornified tees behind the counter for an hour – what difference will that make? City Beach will be back pimping the same merchandise within seconds of the amps being unplugged.
Remember, this is a store which flogs ‘Two In The Shirt’, TITS brand, which uses famous porn stars on its clothing designs. TITS was also nominated for ‘Best apparel’ award in the pornography industry’s annual awards ceremony, the 2012 AVN Awards (alongside ‘Best double penetration’ and ‘Best young girl scene’, in case you didn’t know).
If you enter the URL on TITS t.shirts you find a series of blog posts of images of women, including one in underwear with a bag over her head with hole in it and ‘free blow job’ written on the bag.
Last year Collective Shout published an open letter urging retailers to stop selling pornographic menswear. Signatories included Child Advocate Noni Hazlehurst, The White Ribbon Foundation and authors Steve Biddulph and Maggie Hamilton.
Here is Switchfoot’s response to our complaints
We received your email regarding the objectionable merchandise sold at City Beach. We appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention.
Although we are not responsible for what a retailer promotes or sells to its customers, we are responsible for creating an enjoyable atmosphere for our fans. With this in mind, we have asked City Beach to remove these items during our performance.
We’ve always tried to bring our songs of hope across the globe to everyone- regardless of nationality, race, religious belief, or any other categorization. With this in mind, there are a wide variety of people with a wide variety of lifestyles represented at our concerts. That is our goal. And of course, not everyone who attends will agree with every other person there. Even the venues we play are dramatically different from night to night. If you are offended by an aspect of the venue or the crowd, we respect your decision if you choose not to attend; we hold you and your convictions in high regard.
However, we believe that these songs of light were meant to shine everywhere, including the dark. Thank you again for your concern. We hope that we’ll see you the next time we pass through Australia.
They’ve missed the point.
Here’s a reply from activist Nicole. She nails it.
Thanks for your reply.
Your response, however, is incredibly disappointing.
It is not the concert venue which is offensive. It is not even the presence of explicit and degrading material which is offensive. What is offensive, is the notion of a rock band with a youth following, promoting a company which unapologetically and deliberately sells p*rnographic material to Australian teenagers. What is even more offensive, is the notion that this band is doing so in the name of Jesus.
By playing this gig with the merchandise removed, you are creating an enjoyable atmosphere for your fans for one hour. But in doing so, you are losing the opportunity to create an enjoyable and safe atmosphere for them to live and grow in beyond that moment.
Please, look at the links which I have sent you. Consider the message you are sending about the acceptability of the way City Beach make their mark on the minds and bodies of young Australians. Shine your light by taking a stand, not by taking part. It’s not too late.
As Professor of Law at Flinders University and Vice-President of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, Elizabeth Handsley commented yesterday:
Nobody said they were responsible for what a retailer promotes or sells, but they ARE responsible for the retailers they choose to support and promote.
Nor is anybody suggesting it’s about people in the audience disagreeing with each other – like some people are going to be offended by the ABSENCE of porn?
And if you don’t mind me saying so, all this ‘songs of light’ business only clouds the issue.
We’re all into shining light into dark places.
But shining light doesn’t mean a co-branding exercise where lots of young people who come to see you perform are brought into a store trading in porno-inspired images of women and encouraged to see it as worthy of their custom because Switchfoot performed there.
Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, a grassroots campaigning movement is calling on Switchfoot to withdraw from a planned live performance at City Beach surf store on Queen Street, Brisbane this Thursday afternoon (23rd February).
City Beach, the youth retailer hosting the band, has come under fire for selling clothing with pornographic images, as well as accessories and other porn-themed items including wallets, hats, pencil cases and iPhone covers.
City Beach sells the U.S. clothing brand Two In The Shirt, more commonly known as TITS, a brand renowned for using famous porn stars as the models for their designs. The brand was nominated for an award at the pornography industry’s annual award ceremony last month. TITS brand invited fans via Facebook to come to the Adult Video News (AVN) Expo, where they could meet the porn stars featured on their clothing.
City Beach also came under fire in December after a Year 8 boy brought a pornographic pencil case to school he had purchased from the store. Despite statements from City Beach that the pencil cases would be discontinued, they remain in stores as a part of ‘Back to School’ sales. City Beach has ignored communications from former customers.
Last year Collective Shout published an open letter urging retailers to cease the sale of pornographic menswear. Signatories included child advocate and TV presenter Noni Hazlehurst, The White Ribbon Foundation and authors Steve Biddulph and Maggie Hamilton. A petition on social change website change.org has attracted more than 1400 signatures calling on City Beach to remove pornographic items from sale because of the message to young people that women are sexual objects for male entertainment, always willing and available for sex.
WA activist Caitlin Roper made a formal complaint against City Beach to the Human Rights Commission last year, arguing that openly displaying pornographic imagery in their stores was a form of sexual harassment. While sexual harassment laws prohibit the display of highly sexualized material in the workplace, City Beach refused to remove the offending clothing from sale.
After ignoring complaints, protests are being scheduled outside City Beach stores around the country. The first protest was held in Sydney two weeks ago.
Spokeswoman Caitlin Roper said Collective Shout was disappointed a respected band like Switchfoot, in Brisbane on Thursday, would associate itself with City Beach.
“We have contacted the band but not had a response. It’s not too late for them to pull out. We are sure there are many stores who believe in corporate social responsibility, and who would be happy to host Switchfoot,” Ms Roper said.
If sexual images are inappropriate in the workplace, they are inappropriate at school
I have spent the last two years working at a multi-billion mega-project construction worksite in regional Western Australia. Every day I walk amongst a bunch of men that resemble a merry band of desert vikings who are building prosperity for their community and their country. They come in all shapes and sizes, tall, short, hairy, dark, light and in desperate need of a shower by 5pm (at least those who aren’t scared of a hard day’s work). These are the boys you would want by your side in a catastrophe – they can get it done.
Whilst their language can be lacking in imagination, and using repetitive adjectives (predominantly beginning with the letter F), not one of the 2,450 workforce would consider bringing this pencil case to our worksite. It is not because the graphics are not arousing or stimulating enough (exactly the opposite). It is because they would understand that in this day and age, it is inappropriate material for the workplace. Should they want to keep their well-paid employment, all racist, sexist, ageist and every other potentially offensive material is not to be brought into the workplace. It is not worth losing your job over.
How can a school principal be so blind in their ways as to set this student up for future failure solely based in a lack of basic understanding that women, like men, come in all shapes and sizes? If nude and semi-nude pictures of women which are commonly presented in mainstream marketing (but really representing a tiny fraction of the total population) are inappropriate in my workplace, they are not appropriate in primary or high school.
This sort of marketing by City Beach is about weaning our young men, our future hope, onto a pornography habit that costs plenty and yields nothing but broken relationships and despair.
Use that $19 to help pay for his footy fees, his wrestling trunks, a new basketball, his piano tuition, his dance class, his favourite hobby, his favourite charity, his best mate, flowers for his girlfriend’s mother, a unitard because you don’t want to dispel his dream of lead guitarist in the new Kiss! Just don’t sell his future down the road of self-gratification through the visualisation of 2-dimensional imagery that even if he could snare such a perceived beauty, would only last a relatively short season – what is he supposed to do for the next 40 years?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – pornography is in the eye of the captive.
I hate this pencil case – at 14 years of age, it should be skateboards and motorbikes that fathers have to contend with, not a hyper-sexualised mini-me.
Imagine what would happen if a teacher downloaded or decorated his office wall with the same images. But hypersexualised images on student’s school items are apparently exempt. These images are a form of sexual harassment for schoolgirls and re-enforce a message they receive daily from media, advertising and popular culture that they are merely objects for male gratification and pleasure. They are also harassing to female teachers.
It’s that time of year again. The time of year when companies ramp up their advertising in order to compete for your Christmas dollar. There is nowhere you can go without companies placing their product and logo in your face.
Now is the time to recall which companies used sexploitation to sell and promote their products over this past year. You can make a difference by voting with your dollar against sexploitation this holiday season.
Following the positive response to our inaugural ‘Crossed off’ list of 2010, we have compiled an updated list of corporate offenders, who we have selected for specialising in sexism, objectification and sex industry themes in 2011. These companies do not respect women and they have not responded to complaints nor changed their ways, so they do not deserve your patronage.
Beside each logo you’ll find a link to more information about why we encourage you to boycott this company. And don’t forget to let them know why you won’t be buying from them – we’ve included their contact details as well.
For pimping Playboy porno chic to girls and women. Our Change.org petition – currently over 7000 signatures – was recently hand delivered to Diva stores. Some staff refused to accept it, saying they had been instructed not to. Diva is owned by BB Retail Capital, which also owns Adairs and Bras N Things, where the signature brand of the porn industry gets centre spread in linen and underwear, and where women are told to ‘Be a Bunny.’
Contact Diva: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign the petition here.
Bras n Things
Bras n Things sells and proudly advertises the major brand of the porn industry, Playboy. We’ve written about this here and here. Bras n Things also sexualises girls. For example, the Teacher’s Pet ’dress up’ outfit is advertised with the words ‘This school girl needs to be taught a lesson!’
For sexualised ad campaigns aimed at young girls. Supre advertised using an image of a topless young woman on the back of buses and trams and on their website. A television ad featured a young woman gyrating around her bedroom before falling onto a bed. Supre has a long history of sexploitation with their slogan t-shirts including ‘Santa’s Bitch’, ‘Pussy Power’ and ‘High Beams’ to name a few.
Unilever claimed to care about ‘real’ beauty and the worth of women through its Dove label while using demeaning advertising promoting women as sexual recreation through ‘Lynx.’ Lynx’s most recent offering was banned by the ASB. Unilever once again defended its sexist ads. Unilever owns a variety of different brands, but there is no need to try and remember them all. Just look on the back label of personal care, food and cleaning products for this blue ‘U’ logo. If you see the ‘U’ put the item back and choose another one.
General Pants uses objectification and sex industry themes to sell and promote their products. Large posters of topless women – with only tape covering their breasts – were used to advertise a new fashion line called ‘Sex‘ in shop front windows. Young staff at General Pants were required to wear badges that said ‘I love sex.’ Other promotions have featured topless models and live pole dance shows in their shop front windows. Change rooms at General Pants have featured floor to ceiling ads for prostitution and strip club venues.
City Beach continues to sell pornographic themed t-shirts to a young market. Collective Shout supporter Caitlin Roper challenged City Beach directly through the Equal Opportunities Commission. City Beach were uncooperative and continue to sell items like this.
Other logos for stores, which stock ranges of t-shirts depicting women in porn-themed poses and subjected to eroticised violence are shown below. Sixty high-profile people put their names to an open letter calling for removal of these t-shirts for normalising violence against women and exposing children to sexualised images. Click on each logo for contact details of each store.
Rivers began objectifying women on the front cover of their catalogues. They then used an image of a dead woman on the front cover of their catalogue ’10 Deadly deals’, which attracted complaints and significant media attention. Rivers remains unrepentant.
Contact Rivers by emailing them at email@example.com
In a clear reference to the sex industry Nando’s used a burlesque/stripper model in the ‘Little Hotties’ campaign. Nando’s marketing director Kim Russell described the ad as “sassy not sleazy”. We disagreed. Stop off somewhere else for take away these holidays.
Not the place for your holiday fuel stop, selling extreme porn titles promoting rape, incest and sex with young girls. While BP, Shell/Coles Express and Mobil withdrew these titles after a campaign led by Julie Gale of Kids Free 2B Kids, McDonalds/Fuelzone and Caltex have remained intransigent.
Contact Mcdonalds here (regarding Mcdonalds co-brand with Fuelzone).
Now it’s over to you. Are there any other brands that should be included on this list? Are there alternatives to these brands that others might like to know about? Please share your suggestions below.
Crossed Off in the media
SEX SELLS AND ASB CAN’T STOP IT CAMPAIGNERS WARN
By Madeleine Ross on 15 November
Grassroots campaigners Collective Shout have lashed out at a fistful of brands for sexploitation in advertising and lamented the lateness of the standards watchdog in dealing with demeaning material .
The advocacy group, which encourages individuals to boycott brands which sexualise females in advertising, yesterday released a list of offending brands which included Lynx, Diva and Nandos.
The collective has called on consumers to boycott the brands this Christmas and accused them of using sexism, objectification and sex industry themes to sell products. Read more
Porn identity puts Diva on top of list of shops to drop
November 16, 2011
TWEEN jewellery store Diva tops the list of brands targeted by a campaign calling on shoppers to boycott brands that use sexual exploitation in their marketing.
Lobby group Collective Shout says that as brands step up their advertising in the lead-up to Christmas, consumers should vote with their wallets by avoiding those brands that use ”sexism, objectification and sex industry themes” Read more
Collective Shout reveals list of ‘sexploitative’ brands to boycott this Christmas
An Australian organisation has called on the public to boycott brands this Christmas that it believes sexualise and objectify women and girls.
According to Collective Shout, the companies on its list have been the worst at objectifying and sexualising women and girls through advertising and marketing in 2011. Read more.
In this guest post, Melinda Tankard Reist calls on advertisers to stop sexualising kids and objectifying women
The ad industry has the nasty habit of using self-regulation to its commercial advantage, exploiting women’s bodies in the process. Corporate social responsibility is sacrificed on an altar of sexism.
Inadequacies in the system include a weak code of ethics, no pre-vetting of ads, the Ad Standards Bureau’s powerlessness to order the removal of ads, inadequate monitoring and no meaningful penalties.
Many people don’t know how to make a complaint. Self regulation means the industry gets to do what it wants – and pretty much get away with it.
The colonisation of public space with objectified and sexualised images of women and girls continues unabated. Porn inspired representations of women in the public space have become the norm.
And while sexualised representations of women and girls displayed in a workplace constitute sexual harassment under anti-discrimination law, the open display of similar images of women in the public domain – including in shops, which are also workplaces (e.g. General Pants) – is exempt from these laws.
But wouldn’t it be good if companies chose to act ethically in the first place, rather than being forced to do the right thing by us?
And ASB rulings are inconsistent, with one ad ruled out of bounds following complaints, while complaints against a similar ad by another company are dismissed.
Collective Shout is about to release its line-up of corporate offenders for our annual ‘Cross ‘em off your Xmas list’ campaign. We are calling on consumers not to pay for sexploitation this Xmas – an updated list in the lead up to Xmas will be posted here.
There are plenty to choose from…
Diva for pimping Playboy porno chic bling to its target customer base of girls aged eight-13. Described by Corporate Failings as “Perhaps the most blatant example of consumer disregard we’ve come across”. Our Change.org petition – now approaching 7,000 signatures – was delivered in Diva stores this week. Some staff refused to accept it, saying they had been instructed not to. Diva is owned by BB Retail Capital which also owns Adairs and Bras N Things, where the signature brand of the porn industry gets centre spread in linen and underwear, and where women are told to ‘Be a Bunny’.
Supre for sexualised campaigns aimed at tween/teen girls. From t-shirts advertising sexual availability to topless young models on buses, Supre has a long history.
Nando’s Mumbrella readers may recall the Nandos pole dancing mother. More recently was the burlesque/stripper model in the ‘Little Hotties’ campaign, which Nando’s marketing director Kim Russell described as “sassy not sleazy”.
Unilever for claiming to care about ‘real’ beauty and the worth of women through its Dove label while using demeaning advertising promoting women as sexual recreation – (e.g Lynx Lodge).
McDonalds/Fuelzone, Caltex – not the place for your holiday fuel stop, selling extreme porn titles promoting rape, incest and sex with young girls. While BP, Shell/Coles Express and Mobil withdrew these titles after a campaign led by Julie Gale of Kids Free 2B Kids, McDonalds/Fuelzone and Caltex have remained intransigent.
I’d advise you not to drop in at 7-Eleven for Xmas snacks for the same reason.
City Beach, General Pants, Rivers, Cotton On, Factorie, Roger David, live, Surfstitch, Universal, Glue Store, New Generation for a range of t-shirts depicting women in porn-themed poses and subjected to eroticised violence. Sixty high-profile people put their names to an open letter calling for removal of these t-shirts for normalising violence against women and involuntarily exposing children to sexualised images.
The proliferation and globalisation of sexual imagery in mainstream culture cannot continue to be given free rein. Public accountability and social responsibility – not profit margins – should be the guiding principles.
Where do you think we found it? Some niche not well known store specializing in glamourised violence against women motifs for a specialist market into that kind of thing? For order in a surf magazine marketing women in sexually submissive poses to boys? Perhaps through a more risqué on-line t.shirt seller who missed the movement for women’s equality?
This t.shirt was found in a Cotton On store in Merrylands NSW and passed on by a supporter.
We at Collective Shout don’t have much respect for Cotton On. OK, Cotton On Kids did remove children’s jump suits with sexualized slogans after a protest led by our mate Julie Gale of Kids Free 2b Kids a couple of years ago. But Cotton On has become quite the seller of pornified images of women. Here’s a few more:
Collective Shout member Caitlin Roper from Perth decided she’d had enough. So she began collecting names of high-profile people who would be willing to put their name to a statement against these t.shirt. This week she launched her broad and diverse list of names. The 60-strong line-up includes Steve Biddulph, Professor Jennifer Bowes, Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs, Associate Professor Karen Brooks, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, UNICEF’s Aivee Chew, World Vision’s Tim Costello, Richard Eckersley, Dr Lance Emerson, Dr Michael Flood, Clive Hamilton, Professor Elizabeth Handsley, Hon Alistair Nicholson, Noni Hazlehurst, Professor Susan Paxton, Dr Emma Rush and Dr Joe Tucci, to name a few.
The statement reads:
We, the undersigned, are opposed to the production, distribution and sale of clothing, such as t-shirts, with highly sexualized adult images on them. Clothing that depicts semi-naked women as willing and available for sex, or as victims of violence, objectifies them and undermines equality and respect for women.
Sexual harassment laws prevent unsolicited exposure to sexual material in the workplace. However, these laws do not extend to the public space. The general public, including children, are involuntarily confronted by graphic sexual and even violent images and slogans on t-shirts. Ironically, examples of the images worn in public spaces cannot be printed by the media and have been removed from facebook due to their inappropriate nature.
This clothing contributes to the sexualisation of children by reinforcing the notion that their value is based on their sex appeal, as well as imposing a limited, stereotypical, pornographic aesthetic in their everyday lives. Research indicates that sexualisation is harmful to children’s cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality and beliefs.
Degrading sexual images are also known to act as triggers of distress for victims of sexual assault and violence.
We call for an inquiry or review of the current legislation for regulating offensive material in public. We call on clothing retailers to cease the sale of clothing that degrades women by posing them in a highly sexualized manner or as victims of violence.
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