KFC stereotypes women - and young boys - in new TV adRead more
And ignores the global research in the process
The latest case reports from the ad industry's self regulatory body, Ad Standards, have been published and for the third month in a row Honey Birdette's porn themed ads have been given the green light for display in family friendly shopping centres.
The case report states:
"This poster image features the caption "Cage Bust out!" Image features a woman sitting on a chair with her legs apart leaning forward, and another woman leaning on the back of the chair behind her. Both women are wearing black strappy lingerie."
A sample of comments which the complainant/s made regarding this advertisement included the following:
"The ads were on display in high traffic areas of the malls. In one centre, the ads formed the backdrop for a children’s Santa parade. The ads are highly sexualised and indistinguishable from an ad for the sex industry (eg strip venue) and unsuitable for display in general public space, let alone places where children are specifically invited to participate in activities. Moreover, people are working in these spaces- people who have a right to work without being exposed to sexualised imagery. The space does not belong to the advertiser and the advertiser has no right to impose its porn-themed ads onto an all-age, non-consenting audience who are not its customers."
The Ad Standards Community Panel noted the complainants’ concerns that the advertisement:
- are highly sexualised
- resembles images that would be seen in porn publications
- is inappropriate to be seen in full view of children
The Panel considered that the woman on the left was bending over the chair and pushing her bottom out and that this was a sexualised pose. The Panel considered that the other woman was seated with her legs open and that this could also be considered a sexualised pose. The Panel determined that the advertisement did contain sexuality.
The Panel noted that the lingerie worn in the advertisement is available for purchase at Honey Birdette, however considered that products must still be advertised in a manner that is suitable for advertising on the front window of a store that is located in a shopping centre. The Panel determined that the advertisement did contain nudity.
The Panel considered that most members of the community would not find the level of nudity or sexuality in the advertisement confronting or inappropriate for a broad audience which would include children.
However the Ad Standards Community Panel fail to recognise the global research on sexually objectifying portrayals of women in advertising. This meta-analysis from 1995-2015 describes the harms:
The findings provided consistent evidence that both laboratory exposure and regular, everyday exposure to this content are directly associated with a range of consequences, including higher levels of body dissatisfaction, greater self-objectification, greater support of sexist beliefs and of adversarial sexual beliefs, and greater tolerance of sexual violence toward women. Moreover, experimental exposure to this content leads both women and men to have a diminished view of women’s competence, morality, and humanity.
It is clear that the current model of self regulation within the Advertising Industry is grossly inadequate. Collective Shout will continue to campaign for change and advocate for a world free of sexploitation.Read more
What’s the point of an advertising body which knocks back complaints before considering them?Read more
“There’s a massive pressure to do what you have to do.”Read more
New research shows ad industry is trailing behind community expectations
Recently we celebrated a big win with Bauer Media Group's decision to can its People and Picture porn magazines. In a media statement Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist commended Bauer Media for the move, stating that society has moved on from harmful, sexist portrayals of women.
New research has captured identical sentiment about harmful, sexist advertising: as a society we've moved on. The research paper titled 'Community responses to gender portrayals in advertising' is the collaborative work of RMIT and Women's Health Victoria. It shows that as a society we are cognisant of the harms of sexually objectifying portrayals of women in advertising and that we want better.
Study participants felt that ads portray men and women in ways that are 'out of step with contemporary society': Women are shown as homemakers, mothers or sex objects; men are portrayed in 'more action-oriented roles and associated with leadership and power'.
The following key findings were reported:
Participants felt that the impacts of these portrayals were particularly disempowering for women and contributed to the devaluing of women in society. Many suggested that advertisements that sexualise women or focus on women’s appearance had a negative impact on intimate relationships, body image, self-esteem and mental health. Several expressed concern that these portrayals could contribute to violence against women.
Apart from perceptions about harmful stereotypes in advertising, the research also examined community perceptions of the self-regulated advertising system, finding that 'people want more responsible advertising'. The study authors have urged the advertising industry to learn from others and get with the times:
The industry has acknowledged a need to review its code of ethics. That’s a start. But something else to learn from Britain to address sexist advertising is the value of a co-regulatory system that doesn’t leave the industry to set its own rules...It’s time for the industry to show it’s not living in the past.
Britain recently introduced broader restrictions on harmful sexist stereotypes in advertising. The ban is underpinned by a co-regulated system that enables enforcement.
We've been pointing out the flaws of the self-regulated ad industry for years. Lack of meaningful penalties for advertisers that breach the code, no powers within the system to enforce removal of ads that breach the code and reliance on community members to report suspected non-compliance are just a few. In our own submission to the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics review, we too urged the ad industry to take stock and end their complicity in the sexploitation of women and girls:
We believe the advertising industry in Australia must..take stock of its contribution to a culture that defines the value of women and girls by their sex appeal and that fosters tolerance for the abuse of women and girls. We believe that in the process of reviewing its Code of Ethics, the AANA must consider and implement measures that will uphold human rights as well as the community standard, procure a genuine sense of obligation from all advertisers in all advertising activity at all times and end advertisers’ complicity in the harm of women and girls.
Our comments and recommendations are aligned with research that shows society has changed. We see sexualised and sexually objectifying portrayals of women in advertising for what they are: factors contributing to the real-life harms of women and girls. It's time the ad industry did too.
Read the full research paper here.
UK's Advertising Standards Authority takes a stand against objectification of women. Time for Australia to do the same.
A clothing brand Missguided has been told by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to not use advertising that objectifies women in future campaigns.Read more
Collective Shout's Caitlin Roper quoted in 10 DailyRead more
I have been a client of Australian Ethical for a number of years now. I made the conscious choice to switch super funds in an effort to invest more responsibly. Their website says "We invest in companies to have a positive impact on the planet, people and animals. We agitate for change and that means taking a stance." This sounded great and seemed aligned to my values.
Until I realised that Australian Ethical invested in property. And this included Lendlease Group and Stockland who facilitate Honey Birdette's harmful hyper-sexualised advertising. The very advertising I have been campaigning against for years. And just so we are clear this is the type of advertising that Honey Birdette are pushing in the public domain to our kids. This is what Lendlease Group and Stockland are facilitating. This is what Australian Ethical are investing in. This is what my superannuation is funding.
Australian Ethical replied:
"We agree the advertising from Honey Birdette is concerning. They have breached the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics 30 times since 2012 & shown general disregard toward compliance with the Code."
"We are engaging with Lendlease & Stocklands asking them to require Honey Birdette to comply with the Code for all advertising within their shopping centres."
"We invest in Lendlease because they develop & manage a range of properties including schools & hospitals & are considered a sector leader in sustainability. They’re also one of the few companies in the industry to target large scale urban regeneration projects."
"Like all companies Lendlease has negative impacts which we take into account in our ethics assessment. But not every negative will mean a company is automatically ruled out for investment & in some cases we can have more of an impact engaging with them."
"We exclude over 60% of the ASX top 200 companies. The word ethical doesn't mean every company we invest in is perfect (in our experience perfect companies are rare). We look at the positives and negatives to assess if a company is, overall, aligned with our Ethical Charter."