Corporate Sexploitation Offenders of 2019
Give these sexist companies a miss this Christmas!
Each year in the lead up to Christmas we release our annual blacklist of corporate offenders - companies which have objectified women and sexualised girls to sell their products and services during the year. Our supporters use this list as a guide to inform their desire to spend their money ethically.
There is even more evidence now of the harms of these portrayals of women and girls. And far greater awareness of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Many companies spout their supposed commitment to confronting sexism and promoting women’s empowerment and equality, while at the same time profiting from sexist marketing and products, as we have documented over and over.
You can send a strong message to these companies that you won’t tolerate these double standards, will vote with your wallet and refuse to financially support brands that profit from these demonstrably harmful practices. If they don’t understand ethics, perhaps they will understand when they start losing money.
At number one in our line-up, sex shop Honey Birdette routinely plasters its shopfronts with porn-themed representations of women in so called ‘family friendly’ shopping centres. To date, Ad Standards has investigated 66 Honey Birdette ads, upholding complaints in 38 cases. Honey Birdette refuses to play by the rules and our self-regulatory body has shown itself powerless to do anything about it. At time of writing, 76,000 individuals have signed a petition calling on the company to change their ways. Honey Birdette employees also describe a toxic workplace culture of sexual harassment and bullying, including being expected to use their sexuality to secure sales and pressured to tolerate sexual harassment and intimidation from male customers.
These major shopping centres continue to host Honey Birdette’s porn-themed advertising, facilitating the display of sexist and sexually objectifying content to an all-age audience. It might be challenging to avoid all these shopping centres, but we encourage supporters to do all they can to obtain gifts elsewhere and boycott children’s activities including pics with Santa which, as we’ve documented, are often held in close proximity to Honey Birdette. Click here to see the full list of shopping centres.
Myer routinely displays hyper-sexualised advertising in their perfume department. Some brands that objectify women in their advertising are Viktor & Rolf, Frank Body, Dior, Paco Rabanne and Narciso Rodriguez.
Australian make-up and skincare brand Frank Body routinely sexually objectifies women in their advertising, using sleazy double entendres and innuendo from their male persona ‘Frank’ about getting naked and dirty. The company dismissed concerns from a group of Melbourne teenage girls who objected to their sexist ‘Send Nudes’ lip tint, normalising and trivialising girls’ experiences of sexual harassment. Give this brand a miss.
We reached out to Mecca CEO Jo Horgan asking the company to withdraw Frank Body ‘Send Nudes’ lip tint, which normalises and legitimises the everyday sexual harassment experienced by teen girls. Our various approaches were all met with silence and Mecca continues to stock and profit from Frank Body products, despite their ongoing sexual objectification of women. Shop elsewhere this Christmas.
While many associate Playboy simply with its branded items or magazine, Playboy Enterprises own various adult TV channels and websites, broadcasting brutal, hardcore pornography. Retailers that stock Playboy branded products are helping Playboy to produce and distribute content that objectifies and degrades women. By stocking Playboy branded products Chemist Warehouse is profiting from the mainstreaming, normalising and embedding of a major brand of the sex industry into mainstream culture.
Online marketplace Amazon has a long history of stocking sexually exploitative products and this year the global giant hasn’t been any better. We first called them out in 2010 when they were selling “The Paedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A child-lover’s code of conduct”. Since then we have exposed Amazon selling pro-rape and pro-paedophilia merchandise, child sex dolls, and this year, rape and incest-themed books. Enough is enough- boycott Amazon this festive season.
Vietnamese restaurant chain Roll’d provided promotional t-shirts for young staff to wear with the slogan “Hot Noods”, exploiting staff and exposing young women to sexual harassment. Have your work Christmas party somewhere else this year.
General Pants has a long history of using sexual exploitation to sell products, from change rooms plastered with pornographic imagery, live pole dancing displays, and a series of very large sexist shop front ads featuring young women in bikinis alongside slogans such as “Wet dreams” and “Slippery when wet”. Get your pants from a sexism-free shop.
This year we announced a victory in our decade-long campaign against Wicked Campers and their sexist and degrading slogans promoting rape and murder. Finally, state transport ministers signed an agreement to deregister vans carrying slogans like this. But - given they had to be forced to change after years of recalcitrance - you can still send them a message by refusing to rent Wicked Camper vans for any holidays travels.
While we’re on cars, UltraTune has attracted hundreds of complaints over their sexist ads, depicting women as mindless bimbos who can’t operate their vehicles. The company continues to show their contempt for women by hiring high-profile men with histories of rape and physical violence against women to star in their ads, including Mike Tyson and Charlie Sheen. Get your car serviced somewhere else this season.
This Melbourne based restaurant has designed its name and logo around the Pornhub website. The site hosts spy cam footage of women and girls, videos of men performing sex acts in front of teenagers in public and ‘creep shot’ videos of school girls.
So where can you shop?
Looking for some positive alternatives? Check out the companies which have signed our Corporate Responsibility Pledge not to objectify women and sexualise girls in their advertising, products and services. Do you know of any others? Let us know in the comments.