Media Release: Collective Shout challenges false claims by Honey Birdette CEO re porn-themed ads

Collective Shout challenges false claims by Honey Birdette CEO re porn-themed ads

Grassroots campaigning movement Collective Shout has defended itself against public misrepresentations made by Honey Birdette founder Eloise Monaghan.

Our movement has exposed the sex shop’s routine use of sexist and porn-inspired depictions of women in its window displays in shopping malls around the country, as well as its multiple breaches of Ad Standards rulings against it. Honey Birdette’s new Perth store will even offer peep shows.

Monaghan has branded Collective Shout as “anti-sex” and “anti-woman”, claiming to have been under attack from the group for twelve years. (Collective Shout has been operating for ten). We are neither.

Since 2010, Ad Standards has investigated complaints about 56 individual Honey Birdette ads, upholding 31. In just the last year and a half, over 20 ads have been in breach of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics.

Collective Shout campaigns manager Caitlin Roper said harms of the everyday sexual objectification of women have been well documented, including links to men’s violence against women.

“This routine treatment of women as sexual objects existing for men’s use and enjoyment, as always sexually available, contributes to a culture of sexism. We are have documented incidents of men and boys ogling models in Honey Birdette ads outside stores, on one occasion saying, ‘I’d like to f**k that’.”

Last year Collective Shout partnered with Women’s Health Victoria (and others) on the production of the report Advertising In(Equality) which examined links between sexist advertising and women’s health. The report found that sexualisation and objectification of women in advertising is increasing and has a negative impact on women’s health and wellbeing.

The NSW Government also acknowledged the links between media and advertising reinforcing sexist and stereotypical gender roles and men’s violence against women in their 2016 report on sexualisation:

“The exposure to media representation of genders...can provide templates for what it means to be a boy/man (equated with sexual conquest and entitlement to access women’s bodies) and girl/woman (sexually available).”

“The NSW Government further maintains, in line with the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022, that such stereotyping contributes to attitudes that support or justify violence against women and girls.”

“This notion that women are empowered by advertising that degrades and objectifies them is a myth. Honey Birdette’s floor to ceiling pornified images of women have real-life consequences for women and girls,” said Ms Roper. These consequences include sexual harassment, as documented in our submission to the Australian Human Right’s Commission’s national inquiry into sexual harassment.

Collective Shout has also called out property group CEOs (including of Westfield/Scentre Group, Lendlease, AMP Property and Vicinity Centres) who identify as ‘Male Champions of Change’ for facilitating sexist portrayals of women in its malls and setting back the cause of gender equality.

“All the talk about eliminating sexism is just pink washing, when objectified portrayals of women are given the tick of approval by the inaction of CEO’s”, Ms Roper said. A petition calling on CEO’s to act has so far attracted 72,000 signatures.

Media contact:

Caitlin Roper
caitlin @
13 June 2019

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