Sexist and outdated: Kittens Carwash pays women to wash cars in bikinis

Collective Shout quoted in Herald Sun and Daily Mail

A local mother has made complaints to Ad Standards about Kittens Bikini Carwash. Speaking to the Herald Sun she said:

’I think the fact that this business is allowed to operate in such a public place is appalling and utterly inappropriate,' she said, adding that there is an all-girls school nearby.

Collective Shout was quoted in the Herald Sun and Daily Mail articles:

"We believe businesses like this that objectify women…we would love to see a world where that no longer exists" - Caitlin Roper

"Kittens went out of its way to say "choice" or "choose" as many times as they could in their defence of their bikini carwash, as though a woman's "choice" to participate in her own exploitation mitigates the harm done to all women and girls by these sexist and objectifying businesses,' Collective Shout's Melinda Liszewski told Daily Mail Australia. 

'It also side steps any consideration of the choices men make to objectify and exploit women in this way.'

Ms Liszewski added that treating women as sexual objects in media and marketing has a negative impact on women's health and well being as well as men's attitudes and behaviour towards women. 

'Sexual objectification is linked to self-esteem issues for women, eating disorders, cognitive difficulties and even political efficacy,' she said.

'Men who view objectifying media are more likely to believe rape myths and less likely to have empathy for women." - Melinda Liszewski 

Kittens Management, quoted in the Daily Mail article said they had always followed the guidelines of Ad Standards - this is a complete lie.

Here's the truth

In 2005 Ad Standards Board (ASB) dismissed a large number of complaints about a Kittens owned bus featuring a large image of a sexualised woman in a tiny bikini advertising the "Kittens School of Striptease" which was parked beside the carwash. 


In 2010 the ASB reviewed the decision and determined that it did in fact violate Ad Standards. The change of heart was due to new research in between 2005 and 2010 that showed the ASB was out of touch with community standards in relation to sex, sexuality and nudity. 

The 'Kittens School of Striptease' bus advertisement sat on the corner of a major intersection in Melbourne in full view of traffic parked next to the bikini carwash. At the time, a young lawyer who sat on the local council had received over 1000 complaints from her constituents about the bus. 

After the 2010 ruling from Ad Standards Kittens continued to display the same image on a number of other vehicles.The image was displayed on a ute which replaced the bus at the same location. The ASB then had to go through the process of upholding complaints about the same advertising on these other vehicles.

The owners informed the ASB that the bus was in storage but as it was placed behind a chain link fence the bus was still very visible and still an effective billboard. 

Both the bus and vehicles were parked or driven around the streets at all times of the day, meaning that children are constantly exposed to an objectified and sexualised image of a woman advertising an adults only venue. This included the website in large lettering that led to an unrestricted website. 

One of the vehicles with this advertising was seen parked at a kids soccer training event. 

Source:  (opens PDF) Kids Free 2B Kids Submission on The Inquiry into the regulation of billboard and outdoor advertising (page 14) 

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