Shoppers continue to #boycottwestfield over their lack of action regarding banned Honey Birdette posters
Guest blog post from "one angry mum"
Parenting is hard at the best of times. You want to make the right decisions for your kids so that they grow up to be well rounded, compassionate, kind human beings. You hope that you can instil in them a sense of justice, that they would change the world and make it a better place. With so many horrific stats around male violence against women in this country I see it as my duty to raise my son to respect women. To see them as fully human, rather than sexualised, objectified things. The research on this is clear on the links between objectification and violence against women.
That is why I am intentional about what we watch, what we listen to, the way I speak about others. Because although he is young, he is listening, he is watching, and he is learning. The foundation is being set on who he will be and how he behaves in the future. A simple trip to Westfield to get groceries shouldn't threaten that.
On July 20 2018 as we walked through the centre my son sat proudly in the trolley, eyes open wide at all the lights and shiny, fun things around him. And then we passed it....a huge blown up poster in the front window of Honey Birdette. This poster was far beyond the type of imagery you should expect to see in a public place frequented by children. They way the model was styled and posed was hyper-sexualised. The particular garment she was wearing was transparent. Why should my toddler be exposed to that when I'm walking through a Westfield to get groceries?
So I went home and typed up a complaint to Ad Standards. I was certain this ad could not be in line with their code of ethics. I received an email from them six days later (on the July 26) that the panel were going to consider my complaint.
On Aug 24 I finally heard back from Ad Standards. Five whole weeks after I lodged my complaint. I was pleased to read in their correspondence that that had in fact upheld my complaint.
The Panel noted that the bra the woman was wearing was sheer and considered that there was a strong suggestion that her nipple was visible. The Panel noted that the design and cut of the lingerie featured in the advertisement left a large portion of her breasts visible and that this imagery did contain a high level of nudity.
The Panel considered that the level of nudity was at the higher end of the scale and as such the image included on a poster that is visible to members of the community standing outside the business was not appropriate for the relevant broad audience which would likely include children.
The Panel determined the advertisement did not treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and did breach Section 2.4 of the Code. Finding that the advertisement breached Section 2.4 of the Code, the Panel upheld the complaints.Read more
The Ad Standards panel have again determined that Honey Birdette's latest poster is in breach of the advertising code of ethics. The posters have been hanging in major shopping centres around the country in direct view of families and children.
Mumbrella reported that this is the 13th ad that has been banned for Honey Birdette out of 28 rulings meaning nearly half of the ads have breached the code of ethics.
“At a time where sexual assault is increasing in the news, this legitimisation of using woman’s naked bodies to sell underwear is inappropriate. Other manufacturers sell underwear/ lingerie and do not portray woman in this way nor do it in full view of young boys and girls. This is not about an objection to women.
“It is the objection to the sexual objectification of women – it is about 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,” one the complaints continued.Read more
We love to see our supporters engaging in our campaigns and challenging those who profit from the sexual exploitation of women and girls. Over the past few weeks of our campaign against Honey Birdette, we’ve seen some great actions taken by supporters. Here are some of our favourites:Read more
It’s that time of year again. Every year in the lead up to Christmas, we release our annual blacklist of corporate offenders who have objectified women and sexualised girls throughout the year.
You can send a message about the importance of corporate social responsibility by ‘voting with your wallet’ and making ethical purchasing choices. Give these stores a miss this holiday season.
“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” –Anna Lapse
Take action today, Thursday 30th November.
Last week we put out a call to action, encouraging supporters to contact the Scentre Group and Westfield leadership about Honey Birdette’s sexually exploitative advertising. We had a great response from supporters, many of whom shared their actions with us on our Facebook page.
Westfield has responded to a few of our supporters, claiming to have no authority over the advertising their tenants display. Many others who called and emailed have had no response whatsoever.
Westfield think that we will get bored and give up. But we’re not backing down. We will continue to put the pressure on until they take meaningful action.
A wealth of research shows that regular exposure to sexually objectifying portrayals of women are directly associated with a greater support of sexist beliefs and greater tolerance of violence against women, leading both men and women to have a diminished view of women’s competence, morality and humanity. Essentially, when women are routinely objectified or reduced to things, violence against them may be more easily justified.
Given a growing awareness of the scourge of domestic violence in Australia, with an average of two women being murdered by male partners each week, Honey Birdette’s ongoing and defiant promotion of the objectification and degradation of women is staggering.
Consumers call on Westfield to exercise corporate social responsibility in National Day of Action.
It’s been three weeks since Collective Shout supporter Kenneth Thor called on Westfield stores to stop sex shop Honey Birdette from using porn-themed advertising in shopping centres around the country. Almost 60, 000 signatures later Scentre Group, the owners of Australian and New Zealand Westfield centres, have failed to take meaningful action, claiming they have no authority over what advertising their tenants use.
On Friday the 24th of November, Collective Shout put out a call to action, encouraging supporters to phone the Scentre Group and email Westfield AU CEO Peter Allen or the chairperson Brian Schwartz. Dozens of Collective Shout supporters shared their emails on our Facebook page:
“I understand Honey Birdette has been remarkably persistent in displaying pornographic inspired advertising in their shops which is freely seen by customers walking past and also by children…This kind of pornographic inspired advertising impacts the developing and impressionable minds of children walking past. Additionally it encourages male and female customers to believe that women are merely sex objects. This is not acceptable.
“Westfield has a duty of care to its customers, who include women, children and men, to not display highly sexualised and sexist advertising that constitutes both sexual harassment and discrimination. The frequent depiction of women as merely sexy playthings for men’s use and entertainment has real life impacts on women and girls. Westfield has an opportunity to be a leader, a champion of gender equality.”
“It’s atrocious and patronising to claim that Westfield and the Scentre group…have no power to pressure Honey Birdette to remove these images. I’m sure a store could not have images that included profanities, or violent imagery in their advertising.”
“Having done the bookkeeping for a shop in Westfield this is a total lie. They can control everything down to the light bulbs they prefer you use, trading hours, refurbishments, etc.”
Current and former employees of Honey Birdette continue to fight back against the company over poor work conditions and sexual harassment.
*Update* Calvin Klein remove sexualised advertisement
Thanks for your patience with this matter. We hope you can understand our need to balance both the rights of the retailer with the needs of the community.
We shared these concerns with Calvin Klein, and are pleased to report that they have replaced that particular artwork with alternate imagery overnight.
We do value community feedback and we're pleased to have been able to work with the retailer to address these concerns.
This picture outside a Calvin Klein store in a Westfield Shopping Centre was recently brought to our attention.Read more
Collective Shout call for financial penalties for repeat offenders
Honey Birdette are no stranger to the Advertising Standards Board. The sex shop which masquerades as a high end lingerie store in major shopping centres across Australia have repeatedly breached the advertising codes showing little regard for the self regulated system currently operating in Australia.
We've been writing about Honey Birdette's porn themed advertising since 2011.Read more