They don’t deserve your Christmas dollar: Give these companies a miss this year!
Every year in the lead up to Christmas we release our annual blacklist of corporate offenders - the companies which have objectified women and sexualised girls to sell products and services during the year – and refused to change their unethical behaviour. Our supporters use this list as a guide to inform their intention to spend their money ethically.
Our 2020 list of corporate offenders is shorter than it has been previously. There are a few reasons for this. First, our campaigns against retailers this year have been very successful - with 14 wins in a row!
A significant amount of this year’s campaigning has also involved long-term campaigns directed towards companies that aren’t retailers, like Instagram, ethical super investment funds, and our self-regulatory advertising body Ad Standards. And finally, our list of corporate offenders is getting shorter hopefully because they are getting the message that it is no longer socially acceptable to objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products. We are changing the culture!
You can vote with your wallet and refuse to financially support brands that profit from sexualising and objectifying women and girls. Send a message to companies which have failed to uphold Corporate Social Responsibility standards, that sexploitation doesn’t sell. If they don’t understand ethics, perhaps they will understand when they start losing money.
A regular fixture on our Crossed Off list, sex shop Honey Birdette consistently broadcasts sexist and pornified representations of women to an all-ages audience in shopping centres around the country. To date, Ad Standards has investigated 99 Honey Birdette ads, upholding complaints in 44 cases. But HB boasts that no one will tell them what to do. The company’s contempt for women is also showcased in their toxic culture of workplace bullying and sexual harassment, with young female employees reporting being expected to use their sexuality to secure sales and pressured to tolerate sexual harassment and intimidation from male customers. Honey Birdette’s sexually objectifying portrayals of women and long history of exploiting female staff for profits do not equal “empowerment”- steer clear of this sleazy Brett Blundy-owned sex shop. If you want to avoid lining Blundy’s pockets, you can steer clear of these stores too. Read more here.
Shopping Centres- Westfield, Lendlease, Vicinity, Stockland and more
These major shopping centres continue to host Honey Birdette’s porn-themed advertising, facilitating the display of sexist and sexually objectifying content to an audience that includes children. Along with the 77,000 individuals who signed our petition, we have been calling on them to take actions for years, but their ‘Male Champions of Change’ CEOs (who pledge to stand against sexism) have ignored our concerns. We understand it might be difficult to avoid all of these shopping centres in the lead up to Christmas, but we encourage our supporters where possible to consider other alternatives, and to boycott children’s activities including photos 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.
UltraTune has attracted hundreds of complaints for their sexist ads which depict women as mindless bimbos who can’t operate their vehicles. The company continues to demonstrate disrespect for women by hiring high-profile men with histories of rape and violence against women to star in their ads, including Mike Tyson and Charlie Sheen. The company reportedly recruits women for their advertising from a strip club owned by CEO Sean Buckley. Send a message to UltraTune – get your car serviced somewhere else this Christmas. Read more here.
This year we exposed kids designer clothing brand Caroline Bosmans for its disturbing and sexualising representations of children. Images depict children who appear to be bruised or otherwise injured, children with their faces obscured, made to look like dolls, who look drugged or in distress, and posed alongside adults in various states of undress, with one in drag. Say no to the harmful sexualisation and adultification of kids- don’t give this brand your business. Read more here.
This year we exposed global online marketplace Etsy for selling child sex abuse dolls. We discovered hundreds of lifelike sex dolls, many of which were designed and sized to look like children. We called on Etsy to remove these items which promote the sexual abuse of children from their platform, but to date, they have remained silent. Read more here.
Australian make-up and skincare brand Frank Body routinely sexually objectifies women in its advertising, using sleazy double entendres and innuendo from its creepy male persona ‘Frank’ about getting naked and dirty. When a group of Melbourne teens contacted the company about their sexist “Send nudes” lip tint, which normalises and trivialises girls’ experiences of sexual harassment, the company dismissed their concerns. Get your skincare products somewhere else. Read more here.
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. Despite the company’s claims of empowering women through its M-Power program, all of our approaches were ignored, and Mecca continues to stock and profit from Frank Body products. Shop elsewhere this Christmas. Read more here.
After a decade-long campaign against Wicked Campers and their sexist and degrading slogans promoting rape and murder, last year we were pleased to announce a victory. State Transport Ministers around the country signed an agreement to deregister vans carrying slogans like this (where a complaint has been upheld by Ad Standards). But, given they had to be forced to change after years of recalcitrance, you can still send them a message by refusing to rent a Wicked Camper for any holiday travels. Read more here.
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 advertising, products and services. If your business does not engage in these unethical practices, we would value your signature - so would our thousands of supporters!
See our past Crossed Off lists here: