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.
The retailer aired an ad during the TV show Love Island that “showed models on a beach with their legs apart in seductive poses, a woman running her hand up her inner thigh, a group of women in thong bikinis and another woman posing in a bikini with her legs astride on a motorcycle”, the ASA said.
The ASA received a complaint that the ad was “overly sexualised and objectified women”.
The brand argued that the ad showed "empowering, confident women" in bikinis.
While the ASA acknowledged that swimwear was to be expected in a summer advert, it concluded that the advertising was "irresponsible" and the way the bikinis were presented “invited viewers to view the women as sexual objects”.
'The scene of the four women in thong bikinis leaning against a wall exposed a lot of the buttocks and hips of three of the women. The very next scene showed another woman in a similar thong bikini sitting astride a motorbike and leaning back with one arm bent above her head.
'While we acknowledged that the heads and faces of the women were often shown, in many of the scenes the women looked seductively at the camera with their lips parted and their poses were sexually suggestive - in particular in the scene of the model sprawled out over the bike which presented her as merely a decoration to the bike."
The regulator banned the ad from appearing in the future.
Collective Shout commends the ASA for taking a strong stance when it comes to the sexual objectification of women. Sadly the excuse used by the retailer sounds very similar to that used by Ad Standards when dismissing similar complaints about sexualised advertising in Australia. It sounds like the UK is light years ahead of Australia when it comes to regulating advertising and keeping the community safe from harmful marketing.
We have documented the failures of Australia's self regulated advertising industry here.
The harms of sexually objectifying portrayals of women are clear. This meta-analysis states that:
Sexually objectifying portrayals of women are a frequent occurrence in mainstream media, raising questions about the potential impact of exposure to this content on others’ impressions of women and on women’s views of themselves. The goal of this review was to synthesize empirical investigations testing effects of media sexualization. The focus was on research published in peer-reviewed, English-language journals between 1995 and 2015. A total of 109 publications that contained 135 studies were reviewed.
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.
Huffington Post here
Daily Mail here
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We recently wrote to 7-Eleven CEO Angus McKay about the harmful sexual harassment mags sold in their stores. These magazines not only include pornographic images and descriptions they even encourage up-skirting which is a crime in Australia.
These magazines are classified as 'Unrestricted M' meaning they can be sold to anyone regardless of age. 7-Eleven is well known as a destination for kids with their popular Slurpees brand and partnerships with Krispy Kreme and Chupa Chups.
Yesterday we received a response to our letter from the 7-Eleven head and it is even more pathetic than we expected.
Dear Ms Tankard Reist
Thank you for your letter regarding the sale of Picture and People magazines in 7-Eleven stores.
As you are aware, the magazines you refer to are classified 'Unrestricted M' by Australian Classification, which is part of the Australian Government's Department of Communications and the Arts.
These magazines are sold in a wide range of outlets such as newsagencies, supermarkets and convenience stores across Australia and we understand some people may be offended by images displayed on the covers and within these magazines.
I can confirm 7-Eleven Stores Pty Ltd no longer includes Picture and People magazines as part of the product range we recommend / offer to our franchisees. However, under our Franchise Agreement, individual franchisees are able to stock products beyond those recommended / supplied by 7-Eleven.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this matter.
CEO, 7-Eleven Stores
Popular culture bombards us with hypersexualized images of women and men, conveying powerful images that help shape our sexuality. Dr. Gail Dines, recipient of the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America, sociology and women's studies professor, and porn industry researcher and writer, explores how masculinity and femininity are shaped by pornified images that spill over into our most private worlds.
In Dr. Gail Dines' compelling talk, she exposes the effects of porn culture on pop culture and the impact on children and young adults growing up in a pornified culture today, addressing how nonprofit organization Culture Reframed is "solving the public health crisis of the digital age".
Teenage staff given 'Hot Noods' t-shirts to wearRead more
Not sexually suggestive, but is sexually suggestive. Just two women posing in their underwear, but also two women in sexy lingerie expressing their sexuality.Read more
The objectification of women is so unremarkable in advertising and popular culture that it’s sometimes hard to envisage what an alternative might look like. Is it possible to advertise lingerie or swimwear without objectifying women, we are asked? Is objectification in the amount of flesh revealed, or is it more than that? Where is the line between women being merely attractive and objectified?Read more
Three years ago we reported on the extreme amount of hypersexualised imagery on display at Chadstone Shopping Centre. A popular hangout for teens after school, it was hard to walk from one end of the centre to the other without being exposed to the harmful ads.
A recent visit shows that not much has improved.
We know from two decades of research that "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."
Grant Kelley, the CEO and Managing Director of Vicinity Centres, who owns Chadstone Shopping centre, was appointed a Male Champion of Change in 2018. One of their goals is "ending everyday sexism". They even have a whole 18 page document dedicated to it. So what exactly is Mr Kelley doing to ensure that this everyday sexism is stamped out of his shopping centre?
Contact Vicinity Centres CEO and Managing Director Grant Kelley via his LinkedIn here
Tweet Vicinity Centres here
Send them a message via Facebook here