What a year! Our team is tired...but elated. This year has seen us achieve some of our biggest wins in our 10-year history: and you helped us do it.
Here are some of our wins and highlights from 2019:Read 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
Corporate Sexploitation Offenders of 2019
Give these sexist companies a miss this Christmas!
Each year in the lead up to Christmas we release our annual blacklist of corporate offenders - companies which have objectified women and sexualised girls to sell their products and services during the year. Our supporters use this list as a guide to inform their desire to spend their money ethically.
There is even more evidence now of the harms of these portrayals of women and girls. And far greater awareness of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Many companies spout their supposed commitment to confronting sexism and promoting women’s empowerment and equality, while at the same time profiting from sexist marketing and products, as we have documented over and over.
You can send a strong message to these companies that you won’t tolerate these double standards, will vote with your wallet and refuse to financially support brands that profit from these demonstrably harmful practices. If they don’t understand ethics, perhaps they will understand when they start losing money.
At number one in our line-up, sex shop Honey Birdette routinely plasters its shopfronts with porn-themed representations of women in so called ‘family friendly’ shopping centres. To date, Ad Standards has investigated 66 Honey Birdette ads, upholding complaints in 38 cases. Honey Birdette refuses to play by the rules and our self-regulatory body has shown itself powerless to do anything about it. At time of writing, 76,000 individuals have signed a petition calling on the company to change their ways. Honey Birdette employees also describe a toxic workplace culture of sexual harassment and bullying, including being expected to use their sexuality to secure sales and pressured to tolerate sexual harassment and intimidation from male customers.
These major shopping centres continue to host Honey Birdette’s porn-themed advertising, facilitating the display of sexist and sexually objectifying content to an all-age audience. It might be challenging to avoid all these shopping centres, but we encourage supporters to do all they can to obtain gifts elsewhere and boycott children’s activities including pics with Santa which, as we’ve documented, are often held in close proximity to Honey Birdette. Click here to see the full list of shopping centres.
Myer routinely displays hyper-sexualised advertising in their perfume department. Some brands that objectify women in their advertising are Viktor & Rolf, Frank Body, Dior, Paco Rabanne and Narciso Rodriguez.
Australian make-up and skincare brand Frank Body routinely sexually objectifies women in their advertising, using sleazy double entendres and innuendo from their male persona ‘Frank’ about getting naked and dirty. The company dismissed concerns from a group of Melbourne teenage girls who objected to their sexist ‘Send Nudes’ lip tint, normalising and trivialising girls’ experiences of sexual harassment. Give this brand a miss.
We reached out to Mecca CEO Jo Horgan asking the company to withdraw Frank Body ‘Send Nudes’ lip tint, which normalises and legitimises the everyday sexual harassment experienced by teen girls. Our various approaches were all met with silence and Mecca continues to stock and profit from Frank Body products, despite their ongoing sexual objectification of women. Shop elsewhere this Christmas.
While many associate Playboy simply with its branded items or magazine, Playboy Enterprises own various adult TV channels and websites, broadcasting brutal, hardcore pornography. Retailers that stock Playboy branded products are helping Playboy to produce and distribute content that objectifies and degrades women. By stocking Playboy branded products Chemist Warehouse is profiting from the mainstreaming, normalising and embedding of a major brand of the sex industry into mainstream culture.
Online marketplace Amazon has a long history of stocking sexually exploitative products and this year the global giant hasn’t been any better. We first called them out in 2010 when they were selling “The Paedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A child-lover’s code of conduct”. Since then we have exposed Amazon selling pro-rape and pro-paedophilia merchandise, child sex dolls, and this year, rape and incest-themed books. Enough is enough- boycott Amazon this festive season.
Vietnamese restaurant chain Roll’d provided promotional t-shirts for young staff to wear with the slogan “Hot Noods”, exploiting staff and exposing young women to sexual harassment. Have your work Christmas party somewhere else this year.
General Pants has a long history of using sexual exploitation to sell products, from change rooms plastered with pornographic imagery, live pole dancing displays, and a series of very large sexist shop front ads featuring young women in bikinis alongside slogans such as “Wet dreams” and “Slippery when wet”. Get your pants from a sexism-free shop.
This year we announced a victory in our decade-long campaign against Wicked Campers and their sexist and degrading slogans promoting rape and murder. Finally, state transport ministers signed an agreement to deregister vans carrying slogans like this. But - given they had to be forced to change after years of recalcitrance - you can still send them a message by refusing to rent Wicked Camper vans for any holidays travels.
While we’re on cars, UltraTune has attracted hundreds of complaints over their sexist ads, depicting women as mindless bimbos who can’t operate their vehicles. The company continues to show their contempt for women by hiring high-profile men with histories of rape and physical violence against women to star in their ads, including Mike Tyson and Charlie Sheen. Get your car serviced somewhere else this season.
This Melbourne based restaurant has designed its name and logo around the Pornhub website. The site hosts spy cam footage of women and girls, videos of men performing sex acts in front of teenagers in public and ‘creep shot’ videos of school girls.
So where can you shop?
Looking for some positive alternatives? Check out the companies which have signed our Corporate Responsibility Pledge not to objectify women and sexualise girls in their advertising, products and services. Do you know of any others? Let us know in the comments.Read more
What’s the point of an advertising body which knocks back complaints before considering them?Read more
Honey Birdette is dealing in misinformation and objectificationRead more
Collective Shout calls for stronger ad code of ethics to rein in harmful sexist advertising
Collective Shout has made a submission to the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics Review. In this long-needed review, we highlighted the failings of the advertising self-regulatory system and the weaknesses of the existing Code. We also documented the growing body of evidence demonstrating the real-life harms of sexually objectifying portrayals of women.
We highlighted the double-standards of governments investing in violence-prevention initiatives while failing to address cultural drivers that normalizes – and even eroticises – this mistreatment:
While there is increasing recognition of issues related to violence against women, there is at the same time an increasing pornification of public space. Members of the public - including children - are conducting life’s activities against a backdrop of sexualised images that objectify and demean women.
We also drew on recommendations from our submission to the AHRC Inquiry into Workplace Harassment, noting that sexualised imagery in advertising creates a hostile workplace environment and increases the likelihood of workplace sexual harassment. We stated:
[N]o Australian worker should be excluded from protections against sexual harassment in the workplace regardless of the fact that their employment duties are carried out in public spaces. It is a discredit to the advertising industry that people - women and girls in particular - are experiencing sexual harassment as a direct result of its failing system.
Just this week the AHRC released findings which underscored the importance of our recommendations to the AHRC inquiry and AANA review. The AHRC survey – conducted with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) union - found that 'four per cent of workers had been sexually harassed because of an inappropriate marketing campaign by a retailer..[W]hen retailers did have a suggestive campaign, it led to one in five of their workers being sexually harassed'. (We have pointed out risks to women in previous ad campaigns, for example the time General Pants required staff to wear ‘I Love Sex’ badges).
We noted the inadequacy of the Code and its practice notes in the consideration of minors, that while these account for the way children are portrayed in advertising, they do not give proper attention to the way minors in the audience perceive advertising, or to the harms that ensue. We recommended that:
In the same way the Industry Practice Note prohibits the portrayal of minors in a sexualised way, it should also prohibit the exposure of minors to sexualised and sexually objectifying portrayals of others - particularly women - in advertising.
We further pointed out the inadequacies of the Code that accommodate the Ad Standards Community Panel's dismissal of complaints against porn-themed ads on the basis that the model "appears confident" or "in control", or due to stylistic elements like pixelation (to blur body parts) and flashing (where an ad is shown as a sequence of still images rotated at speed, rather than as a single, still image). We noted that such elements do not detract from the sexualised features of an ad and may actually enhance them.
Earlier this week, new research was released on community perceptions of gender portrayals in advertising which confirmed the normalising of sexist, degrading representations of women in advertising. This research supports the view we have held since we formed: that community welfare needs to come before the vested interests of the advertising industry.
Read our full submission here.