I love talking about women’s issues. In my former life, I was the co-founder of a women’s health care company and so women’s issues are near and dear to my heart. A friend of mine sent me the link to a fantastic 2-minute video, #WomenNotobjects, put together by Badger & Winters Advertising, highlighting the objectification of women in advertising, which fascinated me. Wikipedia: Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person as an instrument of sexual pleasure. Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object without regard to their personality or dignity.
We are so inundated with overly sexualized images every day, that I think we’ve all become numb to it. Some big off
enders include American Apparel, Budweiser, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Sky Vodka, and Tom Ford. The idea of the #WomenNotobjects campaign is to give the ads a voice and to remind the advertisers – this is what you are saying to us as women. And then to add...Don’t talk to us that way because we are your mother, daughter, sister, CEO, Co-worker and manager. It’s a brilliant way to show the advertisers how women view and interpret their message. There are people who will say that these women are lining up for these jobs, and get paid because they are beautiful, but if that’s all you take away from this campaign, then you are missing the entire point.
To give you a visual understanding, the video montage uses women, holding up particularly offensive ads, and voicing what that ad says to her. Here are just a few examples:
Post it: Two people in bed, the woman has a post it on her forehead with her name and the woman says, “I love sleeping with a guy that doesn’t know my name”.
Tom Ford: A naked woman reaching down into her purse. The woman holding the ad says, “When I reach into my designer handbag, you know that I’m naked.”
Burger King: A woman who looks like she is about to do something sexual to a sandwich and the words on the print ad say, “It will blow you away” – the female says, “I love giving blow jobs to sandwiches.”
Direct tv: The ad is a female marionette hanging by strings getting pulled by a man. The woman voice over says, “I’m only here for your entertainment.”
Badger and Winters came up with this campaign and decided that starting in 2016, they are no longer going to objectify women in their advertising. Going forward, before they produce or publish any ad, they ask the following questions:
Prop: Does the woman have a choice or voice in this situation?
Part: Is she reduced to just a sexually provocative body part?
Plastic: Is the image manipulated to the extent that the look is not humanly achievable?
If the answer is “yes” to the questions, then they don’t want to do it. “If it harms people in any way at all, we will not produce it.” Madonna Badger is the brain behind the iconic 1992 Calvin Klein ad we all remember: It featured a topless Kate Moss and pressed up against the chiseled body of Mark Wahlberg, aka Marky Mark in his Calvin’s. Madonna said, “She knows better now, and so does the industry. The conventional wisdom using “shame and anxiety” to sell products is a “dead paradigm.” Ads should never “use people” or take advantage of women and men in “any way, shape or form,” Badger said. Amen. I feel the same way about voting for a woman simply because we have the same female body parts!
I love Ashley Graham, the first plus-size Cover Girl for Sports Illustrated. She is the first size 16 to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. It says so much to young girls and to young boys who are bombarded with these images everywhere they look. I can’t tell you how upset it makes me when I see young teen girls posting pictures on social media wearing nothing but their thong underwear and a bra. I wish someone would tell them that they are already beautiful and don’t need that kind of attention from young boys, sad.
What say you? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.