It was in 2013 that women’s surf brand Roxy was slammed for their sexist “all sex no surf” Pro Biarritz trailer. The video, a promotion for the upcoming women’s surf competition, featured a faceless and half-naked woman writhing around on a bed, stripping off and entering the shower and catching zero waves.
Three time women’s world longboard champion Cori Schumacher started a petition that attracted over 22,000 signatures, calling on the brand to stop sexualising women in their marketing and advertising:
Recently, Roxy released a trailer for the 2013 Roxy Biarritz Pro contest that showcases a style of marketing women’s surfing that is not conducive to a healthy, empowered vision of women. Instead of women surfers being presented as an alternative to the sexualisation and objectification of women in the culture-at-large, this campaign succumbs to the lazy marketing that is already so prevalent.
As the most visible and well-known women’s surf brand, Roxy has a unique opportunity to truly make a difference in how women and girls are represented in the world.
We ask that you stop the sexualisation of women in your marketing and advertising and instead, help to present women surfers in a light that women can be proud to be associated with and young girls can truly admire.
Five years later, Roxy have launched a new global campaign, entitled ‘Make Wave, Move Mountains’ to “promote a message of strength and support to young women of any age, sport, or dream.”
Roxy is not the only brand making major changes. In 2016 Unilever, the company that owns Lynx, a brand of men’s deodorant with a long history of sexist advertising, released the following statement from Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed:
“The time is right for us as an industry to challenge and change how we portray gender in our advertising. Our industry spends billions of dollars annually shaping perceptions and we have a responsibility to use this power in a positive manner.”
Photo: A compilation of sexist Lynx ads over the years.
Just last year, burger joint Carl’s Jr, with a reputation for sexually exploiting women in their porn-inspired commercials, claimed they were changing their ways, ditching the sexualisation of women and instead focusing on ingredients and taste.
This change of direction in advertising from a range of brands is evidence of a greater cultural shift that is underway, one in which sexism and the exploitation of women to sell products and services is no longer tolerated. Corporates are starting to recognise that sexual exploitation does not necessarily sell.
These changes are in large part because of those of us who have consistently challenged the sexualisation and objectification of women and girls in media, advertising and popular culture. As always, thank you for your ongoing support and let’s continue keeping up the pressure!
"It's time to challenge and change how we portray gender in our advertising" - Unilever marketing officer
Is this really happening? We hope so.
Unilever has a history of sexist and exploitative advertising and has let us down before. Here's some background.
Unilever is the parent company for many different brands including food and drink, personal care products and cleaning supplies.
Unilever's website states "We make some of the best known brands in the world, and those brands are used by 2 billion people every day."
Collective Shout has long called for a boycott of two of these brands - Lynx and Dove. Melinda Tankard Reist summarised the reason behind this on The Gruen Transfer.Read more
More sexploitation from a repeat corporate offender
[UPDATE] The Ad Standards Board has upheld complaints against Lynx. Read more.
A Revised version of ad is now appearing on television. If you've seen the new ad you can submit a complaint here.
Men's deodorant brand Lynx - owned by Unilever - has added to it's ongoing list of degrading ads with the company's latest promotion, "Lynx, cleans your balls."
Don't pay for Sexploitation this holiday season
It's that time of year again. The time of year when companies ramp up their advertising in order to compete for your Christmas dollar. There is nowhere you can go without companies placing their product and logo in your face.
Now is the time to recall which companies used sexploitation to sell and promote their products over this past year. You can make a difference by voting with your dollar against sexploitation this holiday season.
Unilever complains Collective Shout encouraged complaints
The Advertising Standards Board have upheld complaints against Lynx's sexist 'Rules of Rugby' advertisement.
The advertisement was supposedly created to educate men about the rules of Rugby Union. It is of course just another excuse for Lynx to objectify women. It would appear that objectification is Lynx's one and only marketing strategy. We've written about this before.
Cross'em off your Christmas list
Jingle bells, Christmas is here. Well, it was here around October according to most retailers! But that’s another blog entirely. So it’s time for you to fill the Christmas stocking, Christmas hamper or car boot with goodies again.Read more
Today, from Melinda Tankard Reist's blog
Why would Woolworths associate itself with the objectification of women?Read more
As published on Melinda Tankard Reist's blog.
Good piece in The National Times today on ‘Lad’s Ads’, pointing out the raw sexism of the new Brut deodorant advertising campaign – a perfect case study in sexist advertising. Brut appears to be following in the footsteps of Unilever’s Lynx, which has turned objectification into an art form (all the while promoting Dove ‘real beauty’). Thanks Brut and Lynx for entrenching the notion that women are mindless objects for male sexual fantasies. Oh, and men? Perhaps find something else to spray yourselves with. These ads demean you too.Read more
Melinda Tankard Reist appeared on web program the Gruen sessions. Melinda did a great job of challenging the sexist and objectifying portrayal of women in advertising. You can watch the video at the following link. It goes for about half an hour and is worth taking the time to watch.
Visit the link and select "portrayal of women in advertising" from the menu. Video no longer available.
The Gruen Sessions - portrayal of women in advertising.