We recently shared an article detailing a mother’s experience with her teenage daughter and an online swimwear company.
The mother, Tania, had written to Collective Shout after her 16-year-old daughter received a g-string bikini in the mail, a prize for a “last comment wins” competition on Instagram for a company called “Makana Swimwear”.
The g-string bikini was accompanied by a card which encouraged her daughter to tag herself in any photos she shares on Instagram of herself posing in the swimmers.
The mother went on to have a difficult but necessary conversation with her daughter about the swimmers and why she could keep the top, but not the bottom. At the same time she was alarmed that anyone would think it appropriate to send this item to her daughter. So she contacted Collective Shout. Read more about what the mother had to say here.
Following publication of our article, we were alerted to a post that appeared in a closed group from someone speaking on behalf of the “Makana team” making a series of factually incorrect claims.
As a result of this post, Collective Shout began receiving comments from hundreds of people defending the business. Almost every comment made the same specific claim, that competition terms and conditions "clearly stated" entry was for over 18+” and therefore it was the 16-year-old girl’s fault for entering against the rules.
Upon visiting Makana Swim’s website, we found a link called ‘competitions’, which included terms and conditions, including a requirement that entrants be aged 18 and over. However, a google cache search found that this section of the website did not exist before March 15, one day earlier. It appears that the owner only published terms and conditions after the mother’s complaint and then edited old Instagram posts to cover her tracks, while making misleading statements that resulted in hundreds of hostile comments blaming a 16-year- old girl for breaking the rules and claiming the mother was unreasonable to complain about the business for her daughter’s actions.
Pic: How Makana Swim’s website appeared up until March 15 (see left hand sidebar, with no competitions section)
Pic: How Makana Swim’s website appeared after Collective Shout published the mother’s article (see ‘competitions’ section added to left hand sidebar)
Pic: Instagram photos as they appeared before March 15, with no reference to terms and conditions.
Commenters, many of them adult women have called the 16yr old girl a liar, sneaky and naughty among other things. They’ve claimed the mother is an incompetent, inattentive and irresponsible. Both have been mocked mercilessly.
At the time of writing there are over 600 comments on our fb page and volunteers have struggled to keep up with moderating the abuse against the teenage girl her mother and Collective Shout. We are now receiving messages via our website, which include accusations and threats to disrupt Collective Shout’s operations in various ways. Staff have had to take time out of their weekend to attend an urgent situation as a result of Makana fans making good on these threats.
All because a business didn’t want to cop to making a mistake and instead decided to go with a cover up and portray themselves as the victim.
This is taxing on our volunteers and staff, but our biggest concern is the 16 year old girl who played by the rules presented to her at the time and who according to her mother leaned towards defending the company and yet is still subject to a barrage of nasty abusive comments from adults who should know better.
Adults running a business should have known better than to allow a 16-year-old girl to participate in an 18+ competition. Adults should have known better than to try and cover it up and lay blame at a 16yr old girl’s feet.
Hundreds of other adults should know better than to gang up against a teenage girl with such vicious name calling and mockery.
On top of being the most bizarre behaviour Collective Shout has observed for some time, what is also striking is how unnecessary this all is.
How different it could have been if they had posted a statement with something like “thank you for bringing this situation to our attention. We apologise to the mother for this mistake. This was a serious oversight on our part and because of this we are now taking measures to prevent a similar situation occurring again.”
The company has now issued an apology and stated it will close indefinitely. We can’t speak to whether that was a wise or necessary decision to make. We can only hope that if the owner/s do decide to re-establish, that they commit to doing better in future, not only in relation to how they manage ethical age restrictions, but also in how feedback or complaints are managed.
My 16 year-old’s first thong/G-string Bikini arrived today
Unbeknownst to me, my daughter had been hankering for her prize to arrive in the mail.
There it was at my front door. A small package with her name on it. As we’re in a time of many firsts, I was wondering whether she had in fact ordered online for the first time. The Sender was the name of an unfamiliar swimwear company.
In between coming home from school and going to her part-time job, she opened the package stating that this was the ‘prize’ that she had won in an online competition where if you typed in the last comment you would win the prize. She later confirmed that her comment had indeed been the last of the competition.
There it was wrapped in white tissue paper and sprinkled with clear faux white diamonds. She told me that this was like Christmas! She had even got to pick the colour but that this was the only style of swimwear that was available to WIN. I looked at the top. It was indeed her favourite colour. When I looked at the bottom, I realized that it was a thong/g-string! I told her that she wasn’t going to wear that. She insisted that she could sunbake with it in our backyard. This is not appropriate as at times, people can see into our backyard.
Who are these people I began to wonder? Why would they give my daughter free skimpy swimwear? I then asked, ’Have they asked you to take any photos in the bikini.” She reassured me that they hadn’t.
Then I proceeded to read the card that came with the prize, it said:
‘Hey there Babe,
Thank you so much for purchasing from MAKANA SWIM – We hope you love your new kini!
Make sure you tag us in any photos you post in your newest swim piece so that we can feature you on our social media accounts!
Thank you again and enjoy the rest of your day.
Love Makana xo’
Not only had my 16 year old got her first thong/g-string (without my consent or approval) via a ‘free prize’ on an Instagram game. She was now being instructed to tag this company in photographs of herself in her what they deem (in their own advertising) ‘cheeky’ swimwear so that they feature my daughter’s half-naked body in advertising their product. Playing on the tendency of this age group to want to be in ‘hot demand’. Isn’t that every girl’s dream?
My daughter, perhaps more naïve to my concerns seemed somewhat sympathetic to this newly fledged company that was only trying to get more people/followers. Although, she assured me that none of her friends wear such scantily-clad bikinis, she has LIKED this company on Facebook and follows them on Instagram… We’re going to have to talk some more I know.
Alarm bells are ringing. It makes me wonder who else has ‘won a prize’? Who else has tagged this company with images unbeknownst to their loved ones? How old are these girls being targeted? Do they even care? Sexual exploitation? Economic Exploitation? I’m not sure but my gut feeling is that something is not sitting quite right.
By Tania Swan
We were recently contacted by one of our supporters, author and freelance writer Jas Rawlinson, who had concerns about content she had come across online. Seek.com, which promotes itself as Australia’s no. 1 jobs, employment, career and recruitment site, was hosting ads calling for ‘male models’ with no experience required, with the promise of making up to $900 per hour. Jas did some digging, and found some disturbing content and information.
Jas recounted what she found in a blog post at www.thoughtsfromjas.com:
It was August last year when I first came across a ‘models wanted’ advert, offering extreme amounts of money to teen boys/young men for – you guessed it – no required experience.
Jumping onto the advertiser’s website (let’s call them ‘SS’), I noticed there was – unsurprisingly- a real lack of information about who their company were and what they offered. Likewise, their social media also showed little information, with barely any engagement or followers – so I decided to do a reverse Google image search of the teen boys featured on their page.
In barely any time at all, I was lead to another social media account with the exact same images – only this time, the young boys were advertised with terms such as ‘youthful’, ‘fresh faced’, ‘milky skin’ and ‘twink’ (a gay slang word that refers to slender, underdeveloped young men with ‘little to no body hair’).
Digging further online, I discovered that not only was the ABN of ‘SS’ also connected to gay pornographic services, but that the images used on Facebook were censored versions of the real photographs – which featured older men performing sexual services on the young men.
When the ad popped up again this month, I was told by SEEK’s Customer Service Fraud and Compliance Analyst, Sarah Grigg, to contact the ACCC instead. Only when I mentioned that the police had been notified – along with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner and organisations such as Childwise – did they then change their tune – eventually, removing the ad.
However, the fight to prevent ads of this nature being uploaded continues, as I again found the ad listed only a few days later (after reporting it again, the ad was swiftly removed). SEEK have vowed to try to do more to prevent this business from getting around their systems in the future, but it has to be said – why did they allow a gay pornographic service to falsely advertise to teenage boys in the first place?
There are millions of online sites where people can seek, or sell, sexual services. Teen boys should not be being targeted on a mainstream employment website.
Have you noticed advertisements of this nature on SEEK? Email email@example.com to let them know.
The #MeToo movement has taken the world by storm, exposing the endemic exploitation and abuse of women and girls by men across a range of industries. The social media campaign to hold predatory men accountable for their actions has sparked a global dialogue, forcing many to re-evaluate their sexist attitudes and practices.
In the wake of this cultural shift, Formula One has announced plans to end the long-standing traditional of ‘grid girls’, clearly recognising that the use of attractive women as props or accessories for men is “clearly at odds with modern day societal norms.”
The growing refusal to tolerate casual sexism poses a problem for companies who rely on it in order to function.
Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, a magazine serving up an array of sexy, young women in bikinis for the viewing pleasure of a male audience, is set to hit newsstands this week. This year’s edition will feature a nude spread entitled ‘In Her Own Words’, a collection of photos of naked women with words scrawled across their bodies that apparently represent who they are.
According to the magazine’s Instagram, the series of naked women in the men’s girlie mag is intended to celebrate “more than just their bodies”. Which begs the question, why are they posed naked? Surely if the aim is to humanise the women included rather than to sexualise them, stripping them off, laying them on the ground passively and photographing them naked isn’t the best way to achieve this?
The project is being pitched by magazine editor MJ Day as empowering, as a means of giving women a voice (just not clothes). Day tells Vanity Fair the shoot is about “allowing women to exist in the world without being harassed or judged regardless of how they like to present themselves.”
What we’re seeing is the same routine objectification of women, the treatment of women first and foremost as bodies to be looked at, as passive objects, but Day assures us this is different. This time it’s revolutionary, about women’s right to self-expression or to be objectified- while the magazine conveniently profits.
By framing the conversation as one about women’s choices, the spotlight is on the women posing, and not the magazine who orchestrated the shoot. Sports Illustrated can continue to operate the same way as always, profiting from exploiting women’s bodies and sexuality, but now they can call it ‘female empowerment’.
The female models are still sexualised, their naked bodies used as canvases and offered up for male consumption. How is this particular photoshoot different from the everyday sexualised depictions of women in mainstream media and popular culture, while their male counterparts remain fully clothed and posed with dignity and strength? Is anything being challenged at all? It’s the same old sexism, but repackaged as progressive and feminist.
The PR machine keeps spinning, with Day attempting to associate the brand, a bikini mag with naked women, with the #MeToo movement in a Vanity Fair article entitled ‘Meet the First Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue of the #MeToo Era’.
The swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated is dominated by sexually objectifying portrayals of women, treating women as masturbatory material for men. In doing so, it contributes to and reinforces the second-class status of women, the notion that women exist for men, for their enjoyment and use, and that women’s value is determined by their physical appearance and sexual appeal- essentially, their ability to attract men. This frequent reduction of women to sexual objects is incompatible with gender equality.
Twenty years of empirical research, 135 studies from 109 publications, indicate that sexualisation and objectification of women has a range of negative effects. Consistent evidence found that:
"regular, everyday exposure to [sexually objectifying portrayals of women] 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."
The treatment of women as sexual objects and the diminishing of women’s humanity cannot work alongside a social movement fighting for women’s human rights. The sexual objectification of women for profit is in direct contradiction with efforts to eradicate the exploitation of women. Treating women as sex objects doesn’t suddenly become a feminist act just because the photographer is a woman.
When corporates, whose primary goal is to sell a product, attempt to capitalise on a social movement or cause, we should absolutely be wary of their motives.
We all know that hot, naked women in Sports Illustrated isn’t about celebrating women or giving them a voice- it’s about selling magazines.
“These are sexy photos…at the end of the day, we’re always going to be sexy, no matter what is happening,” says Day.
See article, originally printed in Sydney Morning Herald here.
Google has raked in millions of pounds in advertising revenue from videos that exploit young children and even appeal to paedophiles.
One channel which has attracted billions of views on YouTube, owned by the search giant, features clips of sisters aged seven and nine in baby clothes, sucking dummies and being scared by snakes.
According to analysts, the Toy Freaks channel which was shut down by YouTube last week earns the girls’ father up to £8.7million a year, with Google collecting up to a further £7.1million.
Major UK firms including Which? and Iceland responded to the revelation revealed in a probe by The Times newspaper by suspending advertising on the video-sharing site. The row comes after Google and Facebook were criticised for failing to block videos glorifying terrorism.
The Pussycat Dolls, founded in Los Angeles in 1995 as a burlesque dance troupe, sold “an estimated 15 million albums and 40 million singles worldwide,” becoming one of the most successful female vocal groups ever formed, according to AXS.
However in an article by Mike Miller, as described by former member Kaya Jones, it all came at a painful cost.
A founding member of the group, Jones left in 2004, saying it had “stopped being fun.” Now, we know at least a major part of the reason why.
In a series of tweets in the wake of the Hollywood explosion over the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal, Jones told her own story — and that of an untold number of other young women. She compared being in the group to being in a prostitution ring:
Speaking to the Daily Beast, former prima ballerina Anastasia Volochkova has claimed that the Bolshoi has become "a giant brothel", with ballerinas providing sexual services to the theatre's oligarch patrons. She had previously claimed in 2013 that "Girls... take turns... going to a party, with dinner and a follow-up, in bed, and going all the way."
The bombshell report goes onto state that Volochkova's allegation is slightly overblown, stressing that ballerinas are reportedly given the choice as to whether they wish to take part in sexual activity with patrons.
Image: CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKORead more
St Andrew’s Cathedral School, a co-ed school with over 1000 students, is fighting an allegedly illegal brothel that is operating a mere 60 meters from the entrance of the school premises. The Star Massage parlour in Sussex Street offers a range of erotic services, but it is the services involving girls who imitate schoolgirls that are causing significant uproar.
The online world was all a buzz after hearing that construction company Geocon celebrated building Canberra's tallest residential tower by hiring topless waitresses to hand out drinks to employees on Friday afternoon.
"The decision by one of Canberra's largest construction companies to invite topless women onto a work site to celebrate the completion of part of an apartment block is alarming."
"That such a celebration took place in the middle of a Friday afternoon in full view of the public and a short distance from a church and school is even more disturbing."
Via the Herald Sun
A WOMEN’S campaign group want posters advertising a CBD entertainment venue removed, claiming it aligns women with meat.
Collective Shout has received numerous complaints since November about the posters advertising Schnitz ‘n’ Tits.