Major breast cancer charity, the McGrath Foundation, has asked sex shop Honey Birdette to remove sexualised breast cancer promotional content from their website. Honey Birdette, a Foundation partner, was selling stockings with profits going to the foundation.
The McGrath Foundation, established by former cricketer Glenn McGrath and his late wife Jane, provides support to women with breast cancer and their families.
Collective Shout expressed its concerns in a letter to the foundation on October 1, citing Honey Birdette’s sexist and pornified portrayals of women and stating the company was engaging in “pinkwashing”.
Promotional material included an image of a woman’s naked backside and legs in Honey Birdette lingerie, and an instructional flyer for breast checking, heavy on sexual innuendo and accompanied by a pouting model examining her breasts.
In response to Collective Shout’s letter, the McGrath Foundation asked Honey Birdette to remove the content.
McGrath Foundation PR and Media Director Liz Hunt said they had received complaints in response to Honey Birdette’s promotional content.
“This content has been removed as it is not in line with our agreement with them,” she said.
Collective Shout has over a number of years exposed Honey Birdette’s sexually objectifying and porn-themed representations of women, citing decades of research literature linking the sexual objectification of women to harmful outcomes to the status of women and women’s wellbeing, as well as links to violence against women.
Honey Birdette has consistently failed to comply with national standards for advertising, with a complaints against 66 ads investigated by Ad Standards, and 37 of these upheld.
Honey Birdette employees have also reported a toxic workplace culture of sexual harassment and bullying, launching a petition and staging a demonstration in response. WorkSafe found a breach of health and safety laws and issued over a dozen Improvement notices.
The McGrath Foundation logo no longer appears on Honey Birdette’s website, but the foundation is still referenced on a number of the company’s social media posts alongside sexually objectifying representations of women.
Collective Shout campaigns manager Melinda Liszewksi said Honey Birdette continued to capitalise on the McGrath Foundation’s good name.
“Honey Birdette has utilised the logo of the McGrath foundation to lend legitimacy to its sexual objectification of women,” she said.
“Pairing a breast cancer charity with the sexual objectification of women is a classic example of 'pinkwashing’. Breast cancer survivors take these pinkified sexed-up campaigns personally. They survived, but for many their breasts didn’t.”
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