It’s that time of year again. Every year in the lead up to Christmas, we release our annual blacklist of corporate offenders who have objectified women and sexualised girls throughout the year.
You can send a message about the importance of corporate social responsibility by ‘voting with your wallet’ and making ethical purchasing choices. Give these stores a miss this holiday season.
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” –Anna Lapse
Shopping ethically is rewarding but it can be a challenge at times! When it comes to ethical practices there are various aspects to consider - slave labour, humane treatment of animals, impact on the environment. But what about ‘sexploitation’- when companies use sexism and objectify women to sell products and services? Many of us choose not to financially support exploitative companies- should this extend to companies who sexually exploit women in their advertising?
“Advertising is a very powerful educational force. Advertising’s influence is quick, cumulative, and for the most part, it’s subconscious. Ads sell more than products. They sell values, they sell images, they sell concepts of love and sexuality, of success, and perhaps most important, a sense of normalcy. To a great extent they tell us who we are and who we should be.” – Jean Kilbourne, Killing Us Softly 4
It’s 2016, and yet women’s bodies are still being used to sell everything from beer to burgers to organ donation.
Hyper-sexualised representations of women in advertising and mainstream media are everywhere, whether it is women posed as passive, decorative objects, being reduced to a collection of sexualized body parts, being defined by their sexual availability, or even depicted as victims of violence- but what does this mean for women and girls?
When women’s value is determined by how hot they are and what they can offer to men sexually, this isn’t a good thing for women. When women are reduced to sexual objects, when their value is based on their physical beauty and sexuality to the exclusion of other characteristics, skills and attributes, this harms women. This objectification is at the roots of many forms of gendered oppression, such as sexual harassment, abuse, discrimination and violence against women. It reinforces women’s status as second-class citizens rather than intelligent, valued people with something real to contribute to the world and as such, undermines gender equality.
“Sex sells” is the all too common refrain, but it’s not really sex that is being sold- we’re not seeing men objectified and subjugated in these same ways. What is really being sold is the sexual objectification and subordination of women, and this should be cause for concern. It is worth noting also that research by the American Psychological Association concluded that sex does not actually sell, that it does not help brand memory- it either has no effect in marketing or it hurts.
Yet given all this, advertisers continue to use sexploitation to flog products. Sure, it’s lazy, lacks creativity, potentially alienates at least half of their potential consumer base and indicates a lack of confidence in the merits of their product. As the saying goes ‘If your product was any good you wouldn’t need sexism to sell it’.
At Collective Shout, we call on advertisers, marketers, media and corporations to be better. We believe that companies have a responsibility to act ethically and to exercise corporate social responsibility to act in the best interests of women and girls. We even have our own Corporate Social Responsibility Pledge that we invite ethically minded companies to sign up to, pledging to not sexualize girls and objectify women to sell products and services.
In the lead up to Christmas we release our annual ‘Crossed Off’ list a blacklist of corporate offenders who sexualized girls and objectified women to promote themselves during the year. We encourage our supporters to vote with their wallets and refuse to financially support companies that sexually exploit women for profit- see also our Brands page for a more comprehensive list.
It’s time to hold these companies accountable for their treatment of women, and show them that sexploitation does not sell. Join us at www.collectiveshout.org to be part of our movement. If you are part of a company that values women and girls, sign up to our Corporate Social Responsibility Pledge today!
We love to hear positive stories of men taking action on the sexploitation of women. That is why we were so encouraged when Laurie chose to speak out after seeing the sexualised imagery on Makita's home page.Read more
It's that time of year again, already! As Christmas approaches, retailers are kicking it up a notch competing for your business, and Collective Shout releases our annual blacklist of corporate offenders who have sexualised girls and objectified women throughout the year. These companies do not respect women, they have not changed their ways, and they don't deserve your money.
You can speak with your wallet and show these companies that sexually exploiting women and girls is bad for business.
Below is our boycott list for 2016:Read more
In late 2015, model Gisele Bündchen starred in an advertising campaign for Stuart Weitzman, a luxury American footwear brand. In one shot for the campaign, Bündchen reclines in a white shirt, its buttons undone to the middle of her chest and her legs bare; in another she squats, topless, in black slacks. Her body becomes the salient point of each of the black and white images, with Weitzman’s shoes reduced to monochromatic props for Bündchen’s prone body in its various states of undress.
The Body Shop is at it again, with their third sexploitation advertisement in the last 12 months found in shop front windows in shopping centres around the country.
It’s that time of year again! As the Christmas season draws near, companies are competing for your business.
Now is the time to reflect on corporate behaviour this past year and remember those companies which objectified women and sexualized girls to sell their products and services. These companies do not respect women and do not deserve your Christmas cash.
You can send a powerful message by making ethical purchasing choices and refusing to financially support companies who rely on sexploitation to flog their products.
Here's our 2015 list of corporate sexploitation offenders:
Nancy Sinatra once famously said that boots were made for walking but shoe brand Windsor Smith’s advertisements have instead raised concern amongst consumers. These ads specialise in the sexual objectification of women and sexual violence against women.Read more