- Sign the petition https://www.change.org/p/stop-allowing-honey-birdette-using-porn-style-advertising-in-your-family-friendly-shopping-centres
- Share the petition link with your friends and family members
- Email the shopping centre company leaders directly and ask them to once and for all put a stop to Honey Birdette’s public displays of porn-style ads in your community (you can find their contact details here)
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
Collective Shout challenges false claims by Honey Birdette CEO re porn-themed adsRead more
*Content warning* - Call to action!
Amazon have a long history of selling exploitative products that objectify women and sexualise children.
We've been challenging them to do better since they stocked "The Paedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A child-lovers code of conduct" back in 2010. They initially argued freedom of speech but eventually pulled the product from their shelves.
Sadly the list of harmful products stocked by Amazon has only gotten longer since then.
One of our team members recently came across this product on their site.
She took to Twitter to challenge them:
Join with us in pressuring Amazon to remove this harmful product and those like it.
Target their senior executives here:
*Trigger Warning - rape, incest, sexual assault. Content may be distressing and NSFW*
It has been widely reported that global retailers Amazon, Barnes and Noble and WH Smith have been selling rape, incest and abuse themed e-books.
This is why we need legislation against Wicked Campers.
Ad Standards has upheld complaints against a Wicked Camper van emblazoned with the slogan “Nothing says romance like choking on a d*ck because you’re choosing his penis over air. Now that’s love.”
According to Mumbrella, complainants argued the vans were “highly inappropriate for children”, “damaging for under age children” and “vulgar”.
One complaint said: “They keep showing a disregard and just change the slogans to something else vulgar or offensive. When will people and children’s rights be protected from marketing material put out by this company. They do it with intention. That is proven.”
The Panel upheld complaints on the basis that the advertisement contained an explicit sexual reference and did not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience and was therefore in breach of Section 2.4 of the code.
This slogan, however, is not merely referencing a sex act- it is trivialising an act of sexual violence against women.
To date, Ad Standards has upheld more than 80 complaints against Wicked Campers, yet Wicked Campers refuses to comply with rulings.
Tasmania, ACT and Queensland have passed laws to deregister Wicked Camper vans if they do not abide by Ad Standards rulings. Collective Shout has called on Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia to do the same.
MPs in South Australia will gather on the steps of Parliament house on Wednesday, 5th December at 9.30 am to speak about the need to take action against Wicked Campers. We encourage our South Australian supporters to attend.
Actor Charlie Sheen has a long history of violence against women, with sexual assaults, battery and threats against women spanning over two decades.
January 1990: While in their home, Sheen reportedly accidentally shot fiancée Kelly Preston in the arm. The relationship ended shortly after. In 2011, Sheen claimed she accidentally shot herself, using the story for a comedy routine:
"I was downstairs early in the morning making coffee and I thought she was still asleep upstairs," he said, regaling the crowd. "And I heard a f--king gunshot go off. I thought, 'She did it, she finally f--king did it. She killed herself and they're going to f--king blame me.'" So I abandoned the coffee, because a gunshot in the morning will wake you up better than a nice cup of coffee," he said, drawing increasing laughs from the crowd.
"I come around the corner and there's naked Kelly Preston at the top of the stairs, holding her wrist, staring at me, covered in blood…and I thought, that's pretty f--king hot," he explained, before quickly adding, "I didn't. I didn't." After tending to Preston, laying her down, grabbing towels and bandages and managing to stop the bleeding, he got around to asking her what happened. As you would.
"She explained to me when she lifted my pants off the scale in the bathroom…the tiny revolver I used to carry…it fell out of the back jeans pocket and hit the floor and shot a bullet right between her legs," he explained amid much interjecting from his onstage cohort. "So she got hit with shrapnel from the toilet bowl."
September 1990: Sheen completed drug rehab a month after checking himself in.
October 1994: Sheen was sued by a young UCLA student who claimed he repeatedly struck her in the face and head after she refused to have sex with him.
July 1995: Sheen testified in the tax evasion trial of Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, admitting he spent almost $53,000 on the prostituted women she sold.
December 1996: Sheen was arrested for allegedly beating his girlfriend Brittany Ashland, who was also a porn performer. Ms Ashland claimed he grabbed her by the hair and slammed her head into the marble floor of his home, threatening to kill her if she told anyone.
June 1997: Sheen plead no contest to the charges in relation to his assault of Brittany Ashland. He was sentenced to a one-year suspended prison term and two years of probation.
May 1998: Sheen was hospitalised after a cocaine overdose. His father, Martin Sheen, turned him over to the authorities for violating his probation. Sheen later checked himself into rehab.
March 2005: Denise Richards, Sheen's second wife, filed for divorce while pregnant with the couples' second child. Richards alleged Sheen had a problem with drugs and alcohol.
March 2005: Porn performer and escort Chloe Jones told the National Enquirer Sheen was one of her clients, and had paid her $15,000 for oral sex. Sheen's agent disputed the claim.
April 2006: Denise Richards, Sheen's second wife, applied for a restraining order. In her statement to the court, she detailed a long history of drug use, gambling, paying for sex, abusive behaviour and threats, including threats to kill their dogs. Richards expressed her concerns about Sheen's pornography use, which included boys and girls who appeared to be underage, including girls with braces, pigtails and without pubic hair performing sex acts. Richards recalled an incident at her house on the 30th December 2005 where he pushed her over and threatened to kill her in front of their children:
'Respondent then started to approach me. I was still holding Lola. I put my right hand up to block him and to shield myself and Lola. The Respondent pushed me, shoving me with his two hands between my shoulders. I was forced backwards and tripped over one of the children’s toys and fell on the floor with Lola. Sam was screaming the entire time and crying. Lola was also crying. When I was laying on the floor, the Respondent then pointed his finger at me and screamed,”I hope you f..king die, bitch.” I took both girls, sat on the couch and tried to calm them down. The Respondent turned away and as he was walking out the front door, said to me that he was going to have me killed. He said,”you are f..king with the wrong guy.'
In a conversation on April 9th, 2006, shortly before Richards obtained the restraining order, Sheen continued to make threats:
'He told me that “I will never get to court because I will be f...king dead!” He told me to enjoy my parents “while they are still around”. I took this to mean that he was not only going to do me harm but also do harm to my parents. In this conversation, I also brought up an old prostitute/porn star who he saw by the name of Chloe Jones. I saw on the news that she had died from undetermined causes. When I asked him if he had anything to do with her death, he said that he had “no comment”. He repeated “no comment” again when I asked him again.'
March 2008: Jason Itzler claimed he sent Ashley Dupre and another girl to have a threesome with Sheen for $20,000. Sheen's reps denied the report.
December 2009: Sheen was arrested on domestic violence charges after an alleged altercation with his third wife Brooke Mueller, the mother of his twins, who claimed he held a knife to her throat.
February 2010: Sheen was charged with felony menacing and misdemeanour third degree assault and criminal mischief in connection with the December arrest. He plead not guilty the following month, but eventually plead guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in rehab, 30 days probation and 36 hours of anger management.
February 2010: Sheen announced he was voluntarily checking himself into rehab.
October 2010: Sheen was reportedly removed from The Plaza Hotel in New York after causing a disturbance and allegedly doing $7,000 worth of damage to the room.
November 2010: Sheen was sued by Capri Anderson, a pornography performer who was with him at The Plaza, alleging he choked her and threatened to kill her. Sheen countersued Anderson, accusing her of extortion.
March 2011: Sheen's estranged third wife Brooke Mueller obtained an emergency restraining order after Sheen allegedly threatened to cut off her head, put it in a box and send it to her mother.
October 2012: A man filed a police report after Sheen allegedly threatened to shoot him to death.
November 2013: Sheen sent an abusive tweet to his ex-wife Brooke Mueller, inviting her to fellate a hand grenade.
October 2014: Sheen was sued for assault and sexual battery by a dental technician after allegedly grabbing her breasts and punching her during a dental visit.
June 2015: Sheen sent an abusive tweet to his ex-wife and mother of two of his children Denise Richards, calling her a "heretic washed up piglet shame pile".
December 2015: Sheen's ex-fiancée Scottine Ross sued him for assault, battery and false imprisonment. She alleged he put an unloaded gun to her head and repeatedly pulled the trigger.
April 2016: Sheen's ex-fiancée Scottine Ross obtained a restraining order against Sheen after a recording believed to be Sheen's voice said he would rather pay someone $20,000 to kick her in the head than settle her law suit.
June 2017: Sheen was sued by an ex-girlfriend for knowingly exposing her to HIV. Sheen knew of his HIV positive status in 2011, and had sex with her in 2015. She allegedly asked him upfront if he had any sexually transmitted infections and he said he was "fine" but told her later he was HIV positive.
Today is International Day of the Girl, and we want to celebrate by helping girls live in a society free from sexploitation.
Thanks to supporters like you, we have seen degrading and sexist ads removed from Wicked Campers in Queensland, ACT and Tasmania, but there is still more that needs to be done to stop these ads nationally!
That’s why on this special day to celebrate girls, we are asking for your support. Just $48 will help us to continue to campaign to stop businesses like Wicked Campers promoting sexist advertising campaigns that denigrate women and girls. But we can’t do it without you.
Please donate today.
And don't forget, all gifts over $2 are tax deductible.
Director, Collective Shout
Honey Birdette is a serial sexploitation offender. The sex shop, located in shopping centres around the country, has attracted hundreds of complaints for its sexist advertising. Ad Standards has investigated complaints sixty-six advertisements, upholding thirty-seven, but Honey Birdette continues to sexually objectify women.
In 2017, father and Collective Shout supporter Kenneth Thor launched a petition calling on Westfield shopping centres to stop Honey Birdette’s porn-themed advertising, but to date Westfield has failed to take any action. Enough is enough- Westfield must act on Honey Birdette sexual exploitation of women.
In this blog, we’ve compiled responses to some of the more common defences of Honey Birdette sexism.
1. "You see more flesh at the beach"
In response to Kenneth Thor's petition to Westfield, Honey Birdette founder Eloise Monaghan claimed, “You see more flesh at Bondi at 10 am.” Monaghan has clearly missed the point.
The presence of female flesh alone does not constitute sexual objectification. The inclusion of attractive women in an ad campaign does not constitute sexual objectification.
Sexual objectification occurs when a person, often a woman, is treated as a body, or series of body parts for others’ use and consumption, when her physical attributes and sexual capabilities are regarded as representative of her whole self or seen as determining her worth.
Commenting on Honey Birdette advertising, Australian researcher Dr. Meagan Tyler said:
"These are not just images of women's breasts, they are sexually objectified and commodified images of women's breasts in public space. These representations of women, that reduce us to consumable body parts, reduce our recognition of women's full humanity and make it more difficult for women to participate in public life."
As Dr Linda Papadopolous stated in Sexualisation of Young People Review:
“Although sexual objectification is but one form of gender oppression, it is one that factors into- and perhaps enables- a host of other oppressions women face, ranging from employment discrimination and sexual violence to the trivialisation of women’s work and accomplishments.”
Honey Birdette routinely promotes the sexual objectification of women in their floor to ceiling porn-themed advertising, featuring hyper-sexualised depictions of women’s bodies or even just parts of their bodies. The women in Honey Birdette advertising are portrayed as though they are for men’s pleasure, defined only by their sexual appeal and availability. The message is that women exist for men’s enjoyment and entertainment.
Objection to the sexual objectification of women is not an objection to women, nor is it an objection to women’s bodies. It is an opposition to sexism, to corporates who profit from the sexual exploitation of women and have the audacity to claim they are empowering women in the process.
2. "It's just women expressing their sexuality"
If Honey Birdette advertising is an expression of female sexuality, “for women, by women”, then why is it indistinguishable from the content in men’s softcore porn magazines?
Honey Birdette promotes a very narrow view of female sexuality, one in which youthful, slender, and typically white-skinned women are depicted as passive objects of male desire. Female sexuality as represented by Honey Birdette entails women being sexually appealing to men, exposing their bodies and mimicking porn-inspired poses and acts. How does this differ from the sexually objectifying depictions of women for a male audience? Essentially, it doesn’t.
In her TED talk about growing up in a ‘porn culture’, Professor Gail Dines encouraged the audience to critically analyse porn-inspired depictions of women in media and advertising. Pointing to a hyper-sexualised image of a female model, she said:
“Look at her clothes, look at her face, look at her posture, and look at her gaze...who is she speaking to? Because the notion is that every image has a reader in mind. Before you answer, do you think she’s speaking to her mother, saying, ‘Let’s go for a cup of coffee after the photo shoot?’ So who is she talking to? Who is she speaking to? Men. And what is she saying? ‘F*ck me’.”
Who is the ‘reader’ or the intended audience in Honey Birdette ads? And what is being communicated to them?
Note the differing treatment of men and women in Honey Birdette ad campaigns. Lingerie clad women are posed alongside fully clothed men. What does this unequal treatment represent? Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth said, “Cross-culturally, unequal nakedness almost always expresses power relations.”
It is in Honey Birdette’s interest to reframe their commodification of female bodies and sexuality as ‘female sexuality’ or ‘empowerment’. “For women, by women” may be a great marketing hook, but the promotion of sexist stereotypes and sexually objectifying imagery of women does not become an ‘expression of female sexuality’ simply because a company with vested financial interests says so.
3. "You're just easily offended"
This is not an issue of offence or personal taste. Our opposition to Honey Birdette’s constant sexually exploitative depictions of women is not on the basis of offence, but documented evidence of harm.
Representations of women that reduce women to mere sexual objects, as sexually available and existing for men’s use are problematic not because some people might be offended but because they cause harm, primarily to women and children.
Researcher Rebecca Whisnant distinguishes between offence and harm. Offence is “something that happens in one’s head”, whereas harm is “an objective condition, not a way of feeling; to be harmed is to have one’s interests set back, to be made worse off, to have one’s circumstances made worse than they were...Whether a person is harmed does not depend on how she feels.”
The harms of sexually objectifying portrayals of women are well established. A review of twenty years of research, from 109 publications containing 135 studies found:
“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.”
Honey Birdette’s attempts to paint those who object to their routine sexual exploitation of women as easily offended, prudish or even religious fundamentalists is a deliberate tactic to silence those who might threaten their profits, and to avoid engaging in meaningful discussions about the harms to women and children from the very sexual objectification they promote.
4. "It has no impact on kids"
Some people believe that children are unaffected by floor to ceiling soft-porn advertising in public spaces, such as Honey Birdette shopfront advertising. This view is not supported by the international research into the sexualisation of children and its corresponding harms.
Sexualisation of children refers to the imposition of adult models of sexual behaviour and sexuality on to children and adolescents at developmentally inappropriate stages and in opposition to the healthy development of sexuality. It encompasses sexual objectification and representation of children in adult sexual ways and in ways that imply the child’s value is dependent on conforming to a particular appearance, sexual display or behaviours. Children may also experience secondary sexualisation through exposure to sexualised advertising material and products aimed at adult consumers- like Honey Birdette shopping centre advertising.
Pic credit MTR/Caters Media
The harms of sexualisation are extensive. In its 2007 Task Force into the sexualisation of girls the American Psychological Association concluded there was “ample evidence to show that sexualisation has negative effects in a variety of domains including: cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality and beliefs”.
Harms from exposure to sexualised content
There is a “growing body of evidence” of the harms to children from exposure to adult sexual content. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists noted that premature exposure to adult sexual images and values has a negative impact on the psychological development of children, in terms of self-esteem, body image and understanding of sexuality and relationships.
The objectification of women in media and advertising puts pressure on girls and women to conform to stereotypical sexualised beauty ideals. According to RANZCP, exposure to sexualising messages contributes to girls defining their self-worth in terms of sexual attractiveness, and the “excessive focus on appearance and narrow definition of attractiveness” contributes to the development of abnormal eating patterns and lack of positive body image.
Links between sexist advertising and violence against women
The NSW Government acknowledged the links between media and advertising reinforcing sexist and stereotypical gender roles and men’s violence against women in their 2016 report on sexualisation:
“The exposure to media representation of genders...can provide templates for what it means to be a boy/man (equated with sexual conquest and entitlement to access women’s bodies) and girl/woman (sexually available).”
“The NSW Government further maintains, in line with the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022, that such stereotyping contributes to attitudes that support or justify violence against women and girls.”
Honey Birdette targets kids
So far, complaints have been made against 66 Honey Birdette advertisements, with rulings against the retailer on 37 occasions. Children around the country are exposed to Honey Birdette advertising every day. Honey Birdette is well aware of parents' concerns for their children, as outlined in frequent complaints, but it is clear the wellbeing of children is not a priority for them.
In addition to their standard sexually objectifying advertising material, Honey Birdette have gone out of their way to attract the attention of children in their advertising in public spaces. Several Christmas ad campaigns have included imagery of beloved children’s figure Santa alongside lingerie clad women, in various BDSM themed scenarios. One advertisement even addressed children directly, with the slogan ‘Sorry Kids! We gave Santa the night off.’ Honey Birdette founder Eloise Monaghan dismissed complaints about the “fun” Santa campaign, commenting, “You can’t please everyone.”
The retailer continued to put profits before the rights of children, refusing to take down the ad even after Ad Standards had found it was in breach. “Nobody tells Honey B’s when to take down her signage”, the brand posted on their Facebook page.
The harms of sexualisation of children are well established and significant. We know that sexualisation presents a threat to the health and wellbeing of children, yet Honey Birdette arrogantly and repeatedly breaches the AANA code of ethics, showing a complete disregard for the most vulnerable members of our society.Read more
According to Mumbrella infamous car rental company Wicked Campers has had one of its ads banned yet again for using an “insensitive” and “inappropriate” slogan, “Girl sits on judges lap and gets a honorable [sic] discharge”.
Ad Standards said despite there being no accompanying image on the van, the tagline used was a sexual connotation and suggested a power imbalance between a judge and a girl.