Thursday, July 31, 2014

8-year-old NHS PSA causes fresh outrage over victim blaming

Via Daily Mail

Patrick, a reader, made me aware of the latest example of an anti-binge-drinking ad that ends up promoting the culture of blaming victims of rape.

In this case, it's the UK government's National Health Service that is causing outrage.

The Drum reports that the poster actually dates back to 2006,  part of the "Know Your Limits" campaign, but it is still available as part of an online toolkit and posted in some health facilities.

A petition, launched recently, states:
Two honourable intentions -- to stop people drinking, and to stop rape happening - are being completely deformed. Of course we don't want people to drink so much they make themselves ill, but threatening them with rape by implication is not the way to do it. Of course we don't want anyone to endure sexual assault and rape, but making them feel like it's their fault if they do, is so far out of order. 
It is not consistent with the NHS' own guidelines on 'Help after rape and sexual assault' in which they say 'If you have been sexually assaulted, remember that it wasn’t your fault. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, where you were or whether you had been drinking. A sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator.' This is a much more helpful approach, and we ask the NHS and the Home Office to destroy this poster in all formats. 
It currently has over 62,000 signatures.

There have been a number of prominent anti-alcohol campaigns in recent years that have hit these same triggers, including PSAs by MADD, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, CabWise and West Mercia Police.

The fact that the NHS campaign is an older one shows how far we've come in understanding the cultural issues around rape in just a few years, but it is also a reminder to keep your PSA libraries up-to-date.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Van rental company makes sexist jokes part of its marketing plan

An Australian company that calls itself "Wicked Campers" has pissed off thousands of people with its on-vehicle slogans, prompting a massive online petition and complaints to regulators.

The campaign was led by Paula Orbea, who reacted after her 11-year-old daughter told her about the "little slut" slogan she had seen on a Wicked Campers van.

It is inconceivable that Wicked Campers choose to not only write the misogynistic 'joke' but also then publicise it through their moving, billboard vans.  
Disgustingly they have also promoted that, 'Fat girls are harder to kidnap.' 
Shame on them. 
Adult females are also degraded into sexual objectification and disrespect - with slogans on show for people of all ages to indiscriminately see and absorb:  
'A wife: An attachement you screw on the bed to get the housework done.''A blowjob is a great last minute gift!''I wouldn't trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die!' 
Racism has also played a part with slogans such as:'Save the whales, harpoon a Jap.'
The company, which markets mostly to young backpackers, has gotten in trouble with Australia's Advertising Standards Board before. Many, many times. But according to Marketing Mag, they have failed to respond to any rulings, whether for or against, since mid-2010.

This time, however, the company seems to have rolled over, and Ms. Orbea declared victory:
Wicked Campers have apologised, and committed to removing all misogynistic slogans from their vans within six months. Nothing has shifted them in the past. Complaints. Fines. But after initially responding to the petition saying they "didn't care about the uproar" – after your massive support for my petition, they've apologised and will re-spray the offensive, sexist vans.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Now you can protest with #Femen without taking your shirt off

It's been a while since I've written about Femen, the Ukrainian-born topless protest group that has since gone global. But this tee, just Tweeted, and on sale at their web site, seemed timely.

Considering that the group considers their bare breasts "weapons" in the war against misogyny, creating a clothed toplessness raises some questions: Is this self-aware parody? Commoditization of their tactics for fundraising? Or just a more accessible form of solidarity for shy women (and flat-chested men)?

There's another version of the shirt that reads, "Every Woman is a Riot" in reference to Pussy Riot - the allied Russian punk protest band that won the world's support when some members were jailed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DDB Amsterdam thinks 1:11 of slow-motion bouncing boobs will sell tech to runners

That's right — over a minute of blurry (?), slow-mo, mammary movement because someone thought up a bad pun.

According to the TomTom YouTube Page, which claims this ad was "banned," the subject (or rather, "object") is American model Alexandria Morgan. Ads of The World lists an all-male creative team with apparently zero interest in selling any TomTom Runner Cardio watches to women athletes.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Anti- "Honour Killing" ad targets Muslim girls in Edmonton

My first thought, upon seeing this story on Global News, was "what the hell is Pamela Geller doing in Canada?"

Ms. Geller is the face of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an American anti-Muslim organization famous for running purposely offensive transit ads in American cities so they can launch free speech lawsuits against the systems.

The organization is also known by the less generic name "Stop Islamization of America," and it has been described by Ms. Geller — without irony — as "a human rights entity dedicated to the freedom of speech, which is under attack, as well as to the freedom of religion and to individual rights."

Unless you are Muslim.

Last year, the group placed the ad above on Edmonton buses. When the inevitable outrage ensued, the City pulled the ad. Now Ms. Geller is suing.

Edmonton City councillor Amarjeet Sohi, who called on Edmonton Transit to remove the ads, told CBC, "“I was really disturbed. I found it to be very offensive,” said Sohi of the campaign’s message.

“I found it to be that it was targeting or singling out one single community. Honour killing is prevalent in many other communities so why only single out one Muslim community? The organization behind these ads is known for its anti-Muslim stance.”

While so-called "honour killings" are often associated with the religion of Islam in Western perceptions, Human Rights Watch says it "goes across cultures and across religions":
"In countries where Islam is practiced, they're called honor killings, but dowry deaths and so-called crimes of passion have a similar dynamic in that the women are killed by male family members and the crimes are perceived as excusable or understandable," said Widney Brown, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.
Indeed, one of Canada's most famous "honour killing" cases involved Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, a Sikh woman who was was kidnapped, tortured, and killed allegedly on the orders of her mother and uncle while she was visiting India. Her transgression was secretly marrying a man of whose social status the family did not approve.

Like many other social ills, the assumption that families own their daughters' bodies and honour is one that comes not from religions themselves, but from the violent cultures of honour that exist in parts of the world with less sense of personal security and trust in government law and order.

Meanwhile, mainstream religious leaders continue to condemn honour killings. Muslim scholars from around the world have issued fatwas denouncing the practice as antithetical to Islam. It is against the Sikh religion as well. And the Hindu one. And the Jewish. And the Christian.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative told journalists, apparently with a straight face, “I don’t know why feelings would be hurt. I would think that Muslims that would denounce the honour code under Islam would stand with us and would want these ads.”

Yeah, right. Yankee go home.