People power forces Wicked Campers to withdraw misogynistic marketing
Wicked Campers withdraws sexist slogans from vans after 110,000-strong change.org petition; petition starter Paula Orbea says it’s a “people powered win against sexism”
The campervan company at the centre of a people-powered revolt over sexist van slogans has today issued an apology and committed to reviewing and removing sexist or misogynistic marketing from all vans in the next six months.
Paula Orbea, the Sydney school teacher who started the 110,000-strong change.org petition against Wicked Campers says it’s a stunning people-power victory against sexism, with the result coming just four days after starting the petition.
In an email from Wicked Campers received by Paula, she says they’ve offered a personal apology, have now removed the sexist slogan Paula’s daughter saw, committed to reviewing and removing insensitive slogans from all vans in the next six months. The statement reads: “Wicked Campers Owner, John Webb wishes to acknowledge the prevailing community opinion by REMOVING the slogan in question and making a commitment over the coming six months to changing slogans of an insensitive nature.”
Wicked Campers have been at the centre of numerous ad watchdog complaints and social media backlashes in the past, and Paula says that it was the change.org petition which gathered more than 110,000 sigantures that made the difference.
“I’m overjoyed at the result, and commend Wicked Campers for eventually listening to consumers that their misogynistic slogans weren’t acceptable.”
“This was a people power win. The change.org petition worked just as it intended, with more than 110,000 people signing, it was an overwhelming show of community support.”
“The kind of sexism and misogyny on those Wicked Campers vans isn’t trivial – it’s degrading to women, harmful for our children to consume, and condones a rape culture that sees one-in-three Australian women sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.
“I’m pleased my daughter said something, and that we stood up against it. It’s important that we call out sexism wherever it exists – and my change.org petition enabled me to actually make a difference and win change.”
Paula is urging those offended by the vans to continue to call out examples of misogynistic and offending vans by contacting the company and posting on social media about them – and she will be monitoring the company’s progress in removing offending slogans.
Karen Skinner, Australian Director of change.org says it’s an example of the growing success womens activism is having through online petitions.
“More than ever before, women are calling out everyday sexism and fighting back through social media and change.org petitions.”
“Online tools are giving women the ability to join together and achieve change incredibly quickly, in stark contrast to the individual complaints processes.”
“Women’s rights issues are among the most popular on change.org, and women make up more than 60% of our most active users. There’s a growing community going online and winning on these once-ignored issues.”
Unanimous vote for Greens anti-Wicked Campers motion in Senate
The Senate has unanimously passed a Greens’ motion condemning the sexist, misogynistic and racist slogans that Wicked Campers have on their hire vans.
“The Senate is sending a strong message that promoting violence against women is completely unacceptable in Australian society,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for women, said.
“I’m pleased to hear that Wicked Campers have said they will remove the specific slogan that sparked on online petition signed by more than 120 000 people, and have committed to remove more of what they describe as “insensitive” slogans in coming months.
“I wholeheartedly congratulate and thank Paula Orbea, who started the petition after her 11-year-old daughter read the slogan which incited sexual violence against women and girls.
“Paula has shown that by calling out sexism and misogyny, we can put a stop to it, and change the culture that normalises and condones it.
“These sexist slogans promote violence against women, which is sadly a massive problem in Australia.
“One in every three Australian women over the age of 15 have experienced violence and one in every five have experienced sexual violence.
“Most often women know their attacker, with one Australian woman a week killed by her partner or ex-partner.
“Violence against women is certainly no laughing matter – it is a national emergency,” Senator Waters said.
Wicked assigns women and girls to a place of inferiority: Dr Helen Pringle
…Wicked Campers is a serial offender at the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB), which has formally considered dozens of complaints against the company since 2008. What is most striking over that time is that the ASB has completely failed to counter the campaign of derision and intimidation against Australian girls and women by the company. In fact, in the last two years, Wicked Campers has simply not responded in any way to complaints lodged with the ASB, or to determinations against its conduct by the Bureau. And the Bureau is powerless in the face of the company’s contempt for it….
One of the most egregious violations by the company did not even become the subject of a complaint to the ASB. During the 2012 Queensland state election campaign, a company campervan was painted with a garish cartoon of a naked middle-aged woman, with her legs spread wide apart so as to expose her whole body to the world, and her genitals obscured by two squares, marked as 1 (her vagina) and 2 (her anus). The caption to the cartoon shouted out to its audience, “Tick the Right Box!”. The cartoon represented Anna Bligh, then Queensland premier, who had earlier criticised the company’s use of a racist slogan on a van (“Save a Whale – Harpoon a Jap!”)…
In his book The Harm in Hate Speech, Jeremy Waldron argues that a flourishing and fair society rests on the equal standing and treatment of its members – and on the recognition and assurance of that equality in society’s “signage”. The Wicked camper vans assign girls and women to a place of inferiority and frustrate the assurance of equality to which we are entitled, in public places just as in workplaces. Read full article
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.
More misogyny from Zoo as Ad Standards Board ruling ignored
We’ve helped bring down Zoo weekly’s ‘hottest asylum seeker’ competition, made complaints to the Ad Standards Board about its sexist ads on Facebook and called on Coles and Woolworths supermarkets to stop selling the sexist mag. But Zoo refuses to change, ignoring a recent ruling from the Ad Standards Board that posts on their Facebook page were demeaning and discriminated against women.
One of the ads we complained about was an image of two halves of a woman with the question “left or right but you have to tell us how you came to that decision.” What followed was a series of misogynistic comments from Zoo readers. We also lodged complaints about an image comparing a woman’s body to a game console. An image of a woman’s bottom wearing underpants that say ‘Nintendo’ was accompanied by the question “What would you call this console?”
A quick scan through Zoo’s Facebook page demonstrates that nothing has changed, in fact Zoo is only getting worse. An article on Mumbrella describes in detail the behaviour of Zoo Weekly and its fans on Facebook:
It’s important to point out that Zoo magazine is an ‘unrestricted’ publication. This means that despite the sexist, pornified content and the advertising directing readers to hardcore content (see link here caution when opening) the magazine does not have an age restriction. Zoo’s own stats indicate that 28,000 young people aged 14-17 read the magazine each month. The magazine is widely available in supermarkets and service stations. Ads within the magazine urge readers to ‘like’ their Facebook page where they are served up more sexist and demeaning content.
We again call on Woolworths and Coles to stop selling a magazine that persists in demeaning women, women who make up both their staff and at least half of their customer base.
Cleo Magazine: Stop digitally altering images to change appearances #RealGirlsCleo
Following a US teenager’s successful petition calling on 17 Magazine to publish one unaltered photo spread per month, Melbourne woman Jessica Barlow has created a petition calling on Australian Cleo Magazine to do the same.
The petition reads:
Reality is beautiful. Stop using Photoshop to alter appearances.
In high school, not a day would go by without hearing another girl complain about her weight or appearance. I saw girls get severely bullied and excluded because they didn’t live up to the beauty ideals of women in magazines.And it made me want to doctor my own appearance even more.
My friends and I looked up to the models in Cleo magazine. It was one of the most popular among my classmates. But what I think many of us didn’t know is that Cleo was altering the images of women to make them skinny and blemish free.
The altered pictures make readers question their weight, appearance and self-worth. I know this much first hand. They teach us that to be “pretty” you have to be thin and have perfect skin. Studies now show that these damaging images can lead to eating disorders, dieting and depression.
Distorting and editing the appearances of models in magazines is distorting the mental health of girls who read magazines that engage in these practices.
Public pressure is building across the world for magazines to stop altering images of girls. In the US a teenager convinced Seventeen Magazine to publish one unaltered spread a month after thousands joined her petition. I think Cleo should do the same for their readers.
I want Cleo to stop selling images that hurt girls and break our self-esteem. Let us see real faces and real shapes in at least one photo spread a month — and always put a warning symbol on any image that has been altered.
It’s time to put an end to the digitally enhanced, unrealistic beauty we see in the pages of magazines. Please sign my petition to Cleo Magazine editors calling on them to give us images of real girls in their magazines.
And I’d love to hear your stories — if you’re on Twitter use #RealGirlsCleo hashtag.
To help convince Cleo to get on board, I have launched the “Brainwash Project”, which involves the presentation of this petition along with edition one of a new magazine showing what young females want and need in their magazines. To complete it, I need as much help as I can get, please visit: http://pozible.com/brainwashproject and/or www.facebook.com/brainwashproject for more information.
In this guest post, Cleo reader Madeleine Rigelsford reveals the humiliating process she went through after the avowedly body positive magazine chose her for its Body Challenge feature before dumping her.
The latest edition of Cleo magazine features the Cleo Body Challenge – in which ordinary readers talk about their weight struggles and the magazine helps them get in shape by the end of it. I was nearly one of them.
I applied. It involved providing the participants with a trainer and a nutritionist – they would be followed on their journey across four-page spreads in three editions. They asked readers to write in, telling them their weight struggles and to provide photos. Read full article here.
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.
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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