*Content warning- this article mentions child sexual abuse which may be distressing for some readers*
In January, the United Nations released the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material, containing an overview of the main issues of concern and recommendations for going forward. The report examines the sexual exploitation and sale of children in a number of settings- online, in prostitution, in travel and tourism, sports and major sporting events, peace keeping and humanitarian aid, child marriage, illegal adoption and surrogacy.Read more
JLo has responded to criticisms over her sexualised SuperBowl 2020 Halftime performance with Shakira.
"The message was really about women and Latinos raising their voices and stepping up. And not being afraid to stand up for yourselves."
"Everything I want to pass onto my not just my daughter, but to all the little girls on that stage... [is] to be proud of who you are, to speak up for yourself, to know your worth and your value," Lopez said. "That was the message. I think for women everywhere, that was the message."
But sexualising women and reducing them to their sexual appeal or body parts does not help women “speak out” or to have their voices heard. On the contrary, it trivialises women and their contributions by legitimising them as sexual entertainment. Sexualising women does not encourage women and girls to “know their worth”, it simply reinforces the notion that their worth is equated with their sexual desirability.
Decades of research has found that experimental exposure to sexualised and sexually objectifying portrayals of women "leads both women and men to have a diminished view of women’s competence, morality, and humanity".
The performance by JLo and Shakira featured guest performers Bad Bunny and J Balvin, both men, who were fully clothed.
Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, said “Cross-culturally, unequal nakedness almost always expresses power relations...To live in a culture in which women are routinely naked where men aren’t is to learn inequality in little ways all day long.”
Footage of the performance, which included JLo gliding around a pole and rubbing her crotch, has been shared in full on the world’s leading porn site, Pornhub. Both JLo and Shakira were trending on the site immediately after, alongside “Latina” and “Latina MILF”.
There’s no doubt that both Shakira and JLo are talented performers. But this performance was not simply a display of skill, it was a highly sexualised performance for an audience that included children.
In a culture where women are routinely sexualised and objectified, and where women's value is determined by their sexual appeal, women may feel validated by being sexually desirable to men. But women do not achieve meaningful power through conforming to sexist and limiting stereotypes, or through sex industry practices. The "power" that comes from being sexually desirable to men is temporary and conditional, and determined by men. Sexual objectification does not empower women, it reduces their power and makes them more vulnerable. This is why we fight against the sexualising and objectifying treatment of women and girls- we deserve better.
Media Release via University of South AustraliaRead more
Ultra Tune has launched its latest "unexpected situations" TV ad to advertise its roadside assistance service. The ad, a knock-off of 1990’s action drama Baywatch, opens with Warwick Capper ogling Pamela Anderson who starred in the series from 1992-1997.
This is the latest in a long series of Ultra Tune ads routinely depicting women as vacuous, incompetent and sexually objectified for men’s entertainment.
Collective Shout was inundated with complaints about the ad and have compiled a list of reasons to boycott Ultra Tune.
Women whose cars break down- especially at night or in regional locations- don’t feel secure knowing some employee whose company oozes sexism is the one turning up to help.Read more
KFC stereotypes women - and young boys - in new TV adRead more
We have previously exposed major shopping app Wish selling lifelike, child-sized sex dolls marketed for men's sexual use. These products exist to aid users in their fantasies of raping children.
In Australia, under the Combatting Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, child sex dolls are classified as child pornography material. Possession of a child sex doll is illegal, as is using a carriage service to advertise or solicit them, or using a postal service to send them.
Despite this, some advocates for child sex dolls claim they could prevent child sexual abuse and encourage their development for paedophilic use. Collective Shout's Campaigns Manager Caitlin Roper responded to these arguments in an essay published last month in Arena magazine, and reprinted in full at ABC Religion and Ethics.
"Better a robot than a real child": The spurious logic used to justify child sex dolls
By Caitlin Roper
Though highly controversial, child sex dolls are already on the market and have been sold through mainstream online retailers like Amazon and Wish for a number of years. Experts predict child sex robots will be next, and some believe they are already in production.
The highly gendered nature of sex dolls and robots is rarely acknowledged by academic supporters of the products. The vast majority of these dolls and robots are embodied female, typically designed according to pornographic standards. Research indicates that sex-doll owners are overwhelmingly men. Child sex dolls are similarly gendered and modelled on the bodies of prepubescent girls. I am yet to see a male-bodied child doll. Essentially, these products are lifelike material representations of women and girls marketed for men’s sexual use.
Academic proponents of female-bodied sex dolls and robots fail to situate the products within the wider cultural context in which they are produced — one in which gender inequality persists, where male violence against women and children remains a serious global problem, and where women and girls are raped, beaten, abused and prostituted by men. Within an existing system of male dominance and female subordination, female-bodied sex dolls reinforce women’s subordinate status and the sexual objectification of women and girls. Despite this reality, a number of academics encourage the manufacture of these products for men’s sexual use, and some actually herald child sex dolls as a therapeutic treatment for child rapists — an approach that I see as both misguided and irresponsible.
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Child-sex-doll advocates claim that childlike dolls will prevent the abuse of actual children. However, there is no assurance that paedophiles who have access to child dolls will use them instead of, and not in addition to, children. There is no evidence for the previously popular idea that men perpetrate sexual violence against women, children and other men due to uncontrollable sexual desire, or because they do not have a sufficient outlet for their urges. Likewise, there is no evidence that child sex dolls will lead to a reduction in the abuse of children.
The argument that child sex dolls could function as a sexual outlet, preventing individuals who would otherwise rape children from doing so, also fails to consider the wider cultural context in which these products are manufactured — a system of institutionalised male dominance, routine sexual objectification of women and a culture that eroticises girls.
Cultural messaging increasingly presents girls as sexually available and appealing. The “Teen” porn genre consistently features on the online pornography aggregator Pornhub’s list of most popular search terms. “Barely Legal” pornography featuring teens with pigtails, flat chests and braces can be purchased in newsagents and petrol stations. G-strings, padded bras and bikini tops, and underwear with sexually suggestive slogans are marketed to pre-teen girls. Advertising material depicts girls in sexualised and adultified ways. Schoolgirls are fetishised, and sexy-schoolgirl costumes are sold in mainstream retailers. Instagram routinely hosts sexualised content of underage girls and comment responses from predatory men. Major bookstores and online marketplaces have been exposed selling erotic e-books that feature incest and child abuse. Adult retailers sell male masturbators designed to emulate the vaginas of teenage girls — such as the Teenage Dream or Lolita Vibrating Vagina — with promotional material emphasising youth and innocence.
* * *
I cannot help but conclude that the academic arguments in support of child sex dolls are baseless, unconvincing and are open to being hijacked by vested interests. They prioritise men’s sexual preferences over the rights of girls. Academic advocates fail to consider the gendered dynamics involved in the production of female-bodied child dolls for adult men’s sexual use, or to situate their development within a cultural context of gender inequality.
If child sex dolls function as advocates claim, they will maintain paedophiles’ sexual urges for children. Rather than encouraging restraint or investing energy into pursuing healthier relationships or sexual practices, child sex dolls enable the realistic fantasy experience of sexually abusing a child.
Child sex dolls and robots do not offer a solution to child sexual abuse. Rather, they detract from meaningful attempts to address an epidemic of child abuse and obscure the cultural drivers that contribute to it, such as male power and the sexualisation of girls. If ending child sexual exploitation is the objective, the answer will never be found in legitimising these practices.
This piece originally appeared in Arena Magazine no. 163 (arena.org.au).
No evidence child sex dolls prevent child sexual abuse, says report - Collective Shout
Wish app must stop selling child sex dolls - Collective Shout
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