Sexist and misogynistic representations of women, including depictions in advertising, film, television, magazines and internet media, has the effect of perpetuating gender stereotypes, objectifying women and encouraging damaging early sexualisation of girls.
Current sanctions in Australia in relation to sexist media and marketing are ineffective as demonstrated in the ongoing case of the Wicked Campervans. Despite dozens of complaints being upheld by the Advertising Standards Board, a unanimous motion condemning the business in Federal Parliament and an on-line petition garnering 127,000 thousand signatures in less than 5 days, John Webb continues to flaunt public opinion by painting his vans with offensive slogans such as:
“I’ve often wanted to drown my troubles but can’t get my wife to go swimming”
“Fat chicks are easier to kidnap”
“In every princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once ”
“I wouldn’t trust anything that bleeds for 5 days and doesn’t die”
“ Wife – a device you screw on the bed to get the housework done”.
Aside from the untold damage to Australia’s tourist industry and international human rights reputation, slogans and images that encourage exploitative and violent behaviour against women contribute to a social environment conducive to domestic violence and sexual assaults.
New Zealand has successfully managed to ban Wicked Campervans in their jurisdiction. Australia needs to take action to follow suit and pass legislation to ensure this kind of marketing does not go unchecked.
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