Retailers urged to cease the sale and distribution of 'porn t-shirts'

*Trigger Warning - violence against women, sexual assault*

Collective Shout supporters have been leading the charge against clothing that features highly sexualised images of women. The 'porn t-shirt' trend, sold in youth oriented stores such as City Beach, Factorie and Cotton On, feature images that objectify and degrade women. Some clothing items depict women as victims of violence or picture them alongside violent imagery and slogans.


We first wrote about this issue last year in our article 'Sexism sells shirts at Roger David and City Beach.' Other members of the public have also spoken out about clothing depicting violence against women. Last year we highlighted a news article on our blog 'Minister for women speaks out against t-shirts depicting violence against women.' We have also written about Krank clothing 'Cranking out porn and violence against women' and 'Nena and Pasadena: Objectification on a shirt.'


Clothing retailers have not responded and have refused to stop objectifying women for profit. They have continued to expose their young staff and customers to pornographic and sexist imagery.

Collective Shout supporter Caitlin Roper has been investigating ways in which we might challenge the sale and display of these shirts. She has created the Facebook page 'Say No to Porn t-shirts' and together we have written an open letter opposing the production, distribution and sale of this type of clothing.

We are pleased to have the support of 59 signatories to this letter, including child advocates, child development experts, women's and men's advocates, academics and educators. Some examples of the shirts are included above. You can find more examples here. (warning: graphic images)

Retailers urged to cease the sale and distribution of 'porn t-shirts'

We, the undersigned, are opposed to the production, distribution and sale of clothing, such as t-shirts, with highly sexualized adult images on them. Clothing that depicts semi-naked women as willing and available for sex, or as victims of violence, objectifies them and undermines equality and respect for women.

Sexual harassment laws prevent unsolicited exposure to sexual material in the workplace. However, these laws do not extend to the public space. The general public, including children, are involuntarily confronted by graphic sexual and even violent images and slogans on t-shirts. Ironically, examples of the images worn in public spaces cannot be printed by the media and have been removed from facebook due to their inappropriate nature.

This clothing contributes to the sexualisation of children by reinforcing the notion that their value is based on their sex appeal, as well as imposing a limited, stereotypical, pornographic aesthetic in their everyday lives. Research indicates that sexualisation is harmful to children’s cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality and beliefs.

Degrading sexual images are also known to act as triggers of distress for victims of sexual assault and violence.

We call for an inquiry or review of the current legislation for regulating offensive material in public. We call on clothing retailers to cease the sale of clothing that degrades women by posing them in a highly sexualized manner or as victims of violence.

Australian Family Association

Steve Biddulph, Parent Educator and author of Raising Boys and The New Manhood

Professor Jennifer Bowes, Director, Children and Families Research Centre, Macquarie University

Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs AO, UniSA Magill Campus.

Associate Professor Karen Brooks, Centre for Critical and Cultural Research, University of Queensland

Gary Bryant, Executive Officer, Men’s Advisory Network

Rita Butera, Executive Director, Women’s Health Victoria

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Author and Child and Adolescent Psychologist

Aivee Chew, Advocacy Manager, UNICEF Australia

Collective Shout

Tim Costello, CEO, World Vision

Dr Glenn Cupit, Senior Lecturer in Child Development, University of South Australia

The Hon. Greg Donnelly, MLC, NSW Parliament

Richard Eckersley, founding director of Australia21 and co-author of Australian Wellbeing Manifesto

Dr Lance Emerson, CEO, Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth

Lesley-Anne Ey, Tutor in Early Childhood Education and PhD candidate, “Sexualisation of Children through the media”, University of South Australia

Dr Colleen Fisher, Associate Professor, School of Population Health, University of Western Australia

Martin Fisk, CEO, Menslink

Dr Michael Flood, researcher, activist and author of “The harms of pornography exposure among children and young people”.

Wendy Francis, State Director, Australian Christian Lobby

Archbishop Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne

Julie Gale, Director, Kids Free 2B kids

Alison Grundy, Clinical psychologist, Senior Clinician in the field of sexual assault

Clive Hamilton, AM, Professor of Public Ethics

Maggie Hamilton, author of “What’s happening to our boys”

Professor Elizabeth Handsley, Professor of Law, Flinders University and President, Australian Council on Children and the media

Ryl Harrison, PhD candidate, “Telling Lies to Little Girls: Exploring women’s experience of mothering girls (9-13 years) within a sexualized society”. Centre for Women's Studies / Political Science, James Cook University

Angela Hartwig, CEO, Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services

Dr Susan Hawthorne, Spinifex Press, Adjunct Professor, School of Arts & Social Sciences, James Cook University

Noni Hazlehurst, AM Actor and Child Advocate

Dr Renate Klein, Spinifex Press

Laurel Leak, Dip.Appl.Sc.(Nursing), Grandmother & Child Advocate

Dr Ian Lillico, Executive Director, BoysForward Institute

Libby Lloyd AM, Chair Violence Against Women Advisory Group (VAWAG)

Stephanie Lorenzo, founder/creator, Project Futures Organisation- to end sex trafficking

Dr Sloane Madden, Head of Department and Co-Director Eating Disorder Service, Department of Psychological Medicine, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

Dr Ramesh Manocha, Convenor and Chairman, “The Right to Childhood”

Elli McGavin, Social Policy and Programme Manager, The Salvation Army (Australian Southern Territory)

Dr Betty McLellan, Queensland Women’s Health Network

Sarah McMahon, Managing Director, BodyMatters Australasia

Dannielle Miller, CEO, Enlighten Education

Lenora Newcombe, President, Hunter Alliance for Childhood Inc

Professor Louise Newman, Director, Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Monash University

The Hon Alastair Nicholson, AO RFD QC, Former Chief Justice of the Family Court and Founding Patron, Children’s Rights International

Dr Caroline Norma, Coalition Against Trafficking Women Australia

Professor Susan Paxton, Head of School of Psychological Science, La Trobe University, and member of National Body Image Advisory group

Rita Princi, Director and clinical psychologist, Princi Consulting, and National Treasurer, Australian Psychological Society’s Child, Adolescent and Family Interest Group

Melinda Tankard Reist, editor of "Getting real: Challenging the sexualisation of girls"

Father Chris Riley, CEO, Youth Off The Streets

Dr Emma Rush, Lecturer, Ethics and author of Corporate Paedophilia

Collett Smart, Director of FamilySmart, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy.

Dr Joe Tucci, CEO, Australian Childhood Foundation

Lydia Jade Turner, Managing Director and psychotherapist, BodyMatters Australasia

WEAVE Inc (Women Everywhere Advocating Violence Elimination)

Dr Amy Webster, Project Coordinator of Partners in Prevention at the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

White Ribbon Foundation, Australia

Womens Centre, North Queensland Combined Women’s Services Inc.

Womens Forum Australia

Dr Lois Achimovich, Child Psychiatrist

Gabrielle Borggaard, Manager, Ipswich Women's Centre Against Domestic Violence Inc

Commissioner Aylene Finger, Territorial President of Women's Ministries, The Salvation Army, Australian Southern Territory

Dr Gwen Gray, Australian Women's Health Network

Julie Oberin, National Chair, WESNET Women's Services Network and AWAVA Australian Women Against Violence Alliance

Pornography Harms, US

UPDATED: Since publishing our open letter, we have been contacted by others wanting to be added to the list of signatories. We have now added those names to the list above. Thank you for your support!

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