Keep girls and women in Real sport

Women and girls are in the midst of a cultural sexualisation and exploitation crisis across all spectrums of our lives and impacting us in many harmful ways. According to the Australian Sports commission such sexualised promotions are “reason enough for some girls and women to choose another sport or even no sport at all”. Watch this 40 second video which emphasizes this powerfully Continue reading

How contemporary culture creates sexist men

Explicit imagery of women that we are faced with daily, negatively impacting on women’s body image and sense of self, while, as ‘The Bro Code’ says conditioning men to dehumanize and disrespect women, creating a sexist culture.

Enough is enough, things have to change. Those profiting off exploiting and sexualising women’s bodies won’t stop on integrity and decency’s behalf. Men – it is up to you to stop benefiting from it and buying into it. Women – stay brave, stay strong and keep speaking up for the return of our dignity. And what of the women that take part in this pornified culture, in the images in ‘The Bro Code’ preview, in our society? Read the article below


In a culture with widespread sexual objectification, women (especially) tend to view themselves as objects of desire for others… Pop culture sells women and girls a hurtful fiction that their value lies in how sexy they appear to others; they learn at a very young age that their sexuality is for others…

This unfortunately leads to a society where some women think they have to be as sexy, sexual and readily available as they can be to compete with the imagery they are inundated with daily, to feel good about themselves, to find their value in this pornified culture. A vicious cycle breeding disposable women, as youth as well as sexualisation is dominent in this culture.

Read more here:

Specialist support needed in schools for kids who are growing up faster

I’ve just read an article by Elissa Doherty from April 23rd 2012 which states “pre-teen girls donning skimpier clothing and wearing make-up has forced a school crackdown.”

So much so that the Victorian Principles Association wants welfare officers in every school to provide specialist support to kids who are embroiled in the complex issues of growing up too fast.

The Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive Dr Joe Tucci said “…young people were being bombarded by adult concepts, and research was showing more 12 to 13-year-olds were engaging in sexual activity.”

With a spokesman for Education Minister Martin Dixon saying “by the end of the Government’s term, two-thirds of primary schools would have a primary welfare officer to support students,” shouldn’t we also be addressing the issues of why this is happening to our kids while we support them through it? Call for Governments to take responsibility and action on the sexualisation of children

You can read the full article at

Collective Shout – a grassroots campaigning movement against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in media, advertising and popular culture.

Collective Shout is a grassroots campaigns movement mobilising and equipping individuals and groups to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media which objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services.

Collective Shout names, shames and exposes corporations, advertisers, marketers and media engaging in practices which are offensive and harmful, especially to women and girls, but also to men and boys.

Collective Shout is for anyone concerned about the increasing pornification of culture and the way its messages have become entrenched in mainstream society, presenting distorted and dishonest ideas about women and girls, sexuality and relationships.

Collective Shout builds on work carried out in recent years around the issue of objectification and sexualisation. This includes research like Australia Institute’s Corporate Paedophilia report, the American Psychological Association’s Taskforce on the Sexualisation of Girls and a number of books – including the newly released Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls.

The harms associated with the increasing sexualisation of childhood and objectification of women have been raised in recent times by community groups such as Kids Free to be Kids, and many others concerned with children’s health and wellbeing.

A common response to issues relating to the objectification and sexualisation of women and girls is ‘What can we do about it?’

People want to act, but get weighed down and frustrated by complicated complaints procedures, a lack of community support and too often, inadequate responses from the targets of their complaints.

Collective Shout makes it easier: we are a ‘one-stop shop’ for concerned people to make their voices heard. Together we are directing the widespread concern on this issue into a series of hard-hitting and targeted campaigns to bring about the change needed.

It’s time for change, so get on board!

Join Collective Shout  To connect with Collective Shout, sign up for Facebook today. Collective Shout – for a world free of sexploitation.

Australia’s body image crisis

Where does the blame fall for women and girls feeling so bad about themselves?

‘Mission Australia’ says that “body image has been one of the top three concerns for young people in the last 5 years”. Shouldn’t alarm bells be ringing? Does mass media have that much power that the imagery they present of women is out of our control?

Almost every movie you watch, every television show, every advertisement, every music video, every magazine has unrealistic representations of perfect young women and what beauty is, and therefore what we should all strive for if we are to feel beautiful, desired or even loved. As well as this, if women in these forms of media are not being stripped naked, they are being overtly sexualised, scantily clad or treated to depictions of violence and male domination. This is causing a body image crisis including depression and anxiety among children, teenagers and women alike.

Plastic surgery rates are surging for those who can afford it, Anorexia and bulimia rates are out of control fuelled by self-hate, and depression and anxiety rates among women are at an unprecedented high, and while most men might benefit from this and some women defend it, the majority of the ‘female sex’ of our nation are suffering. Is this right? Is this fair? Who says?

‘They’ say change the channel, turn of the movie, don’t read the magazines if you don’t like it censor yourself and your children. But it is hard to do when these images are everywhere in and outside of the home. And who doesn’t like to sit down and watch a good movie or a funny sitcom or a thrilling drama? But the fear of not knowing what will pop up next ruins this experience for a lot of women. I watched parts of a UK show ‘Silent witness’ the other night, the female cadaver was laid out naked in all her glory, full frontal and behind, on the table while being examined. The male cadaver was only shown from the chest up, with full protection of his sexual parts. Is this right? Is this fair? Who says?

When faced constantly with these images women learn of inequality in little ways all day long (‘To live in a culture in which women are routinely naked where men aren’t is to learn inequality in little ways all day long.’ – Naomi Wolf)

Advertising Executive Jane Caro says “we are taught to value the way women look above everything else, and all these images and ads out-way the small messages we are receiving of good body image”.

The experts say it is up to parents to reinforce to their children that these images are not real taking the onus and responsibility off the government, film, television, music, advertising and magazine industries for the constant unreal imagery and sexualisation of women and teenagers that they are producing and reproducing with dire consequences. They say that models are deliberately made up to look ‘un-real’.

Other experts state that this is double messaging; by saying it shouldn’t matter, while all the imagery is saying how beautiful you are is very important and definitely matters.

Now we have the new ‘photoshop ratings system’ controversy, while certain people in the industry are calling for transparency others say these idealised versions of women shouldn’t be labelled as ‘photoshop’d’

Felicity Harley from women’s health magazine said on the morning show last week that people need to realise that “I don’t look like this”, with professional makeup artists and hairstylists making her look this good for television. That people also need to realise that these models and actresses have had full hair and makeup done, fake tan’s etc before they are then photoshop’d to even more perfection including airbrushing out skin flaws and wrinkles, whitening teeth, reducing or enhancing body parts etc in the images we see daily.

No it is probably not a good idea to show how much manipulation a woman has needed to look good in a photo, but these unrealistic images are not good either when we are confronted with it many, many times throughout each day of our lives. It is a lose/lose situation for women and girls of all ages.

It is time for social responsibility by media and government bodies. Is this right? Is this fair? Who says?

We do!  photo shop rating system   day spa’s for children   baby beauty salons

Body Image Post Card Campaign – Equality Rights Alliance

Inspire. Action. Vision.

Body Image is a top concern for young women today. We want the Australian Government to take action and we need YOU.

Send the Hon Peter Garrett MP, Minister of Youth a message. Let him know that media, fashion and advertising industries must do more to promote positive Body Image. Enter your details in the postcard below and the postcard will be sent straight to Minister Garrett. The more postcards we send, the more attention we’ll get.

To be part of the campaign on positive Body Image follow this link and enter your details into a post card that will be sent to Peter Garrett.   Printer-friendly version    Send to friend

Dear Minister Garrett,

Body Image matters for young women. Yet media, fashion and advertising industries continue to promote unrealistic and unhealthy images of women. This goes against the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct for Body Image. To celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day in 2011, I’m asking you as Minister for Youth to put the Code of Conduct into force. In the next 12 months, let’s secure 100 media, fashion and advertising agencies as compliant with the Code of Conduct. Let’s publicly promote these 100 agencies and let’s give young women a chance to see images of natural women with real beauty.

Want to have your say? Paste the message above into an email to Minister Garrett (

or post it to his address below.

The Hon Peter Garrett MP  Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth

PO Box 6022 Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Equality Rights Alliance |

Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image

Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting the health, happiness and resilience of young Australians. This includes undertaking work to promote positive body image.

The fashion, media and advertising industries play a significant role in shaping the cultural ideals of society.  Messages about beauty portrayed in popular media can contribute to body image pressures on young people. 

The former National Advisory Group on Body Image, appointed by the Australian Government in 2009, developed the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image to provide national guidance on body image.

The Code aims to build on and further encourage the positive steps that are being taken within the fashion, media and advertising industries to bring about long-term cultural change. 

The Code outlines principles to guide industries to adopt more body image friendly practices. It encourages more diversity in the selection of models, a wider range of clothing sizes in retail fashion, the use of realistic and natural images of people, and disclosure when images have been digitally manipulated.

Respect Every Body Poster ( PDF 5.68MB) free download

‘Miss Representation’ on Oprahs OWN network

“Miss Representation” – poised to advance a media movement

by Marianne Schnall

The following article originally appeared at The Women’s Media Center

Tonight is your chance to see a documentary on Oprah’s OWN network that takes on the disparagement of women and girls in the media in a comprehensive way. Marianne Schnall talks to filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

We tend to pay attention to negative media treatment of women and girls only as isolated incidents spark an outcry—a sexist statement by an on-air commentator, a skeletal model on a magazine cover, a controversial advertising campaign. The full scope of the problem, and its dire implications for our democracy and our planet, rarely rates a national discussion. That may change, with the premiere of filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s groundbreaking new documentary “Miss Representation,” which airs on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network tonight (Thursday October 20). The film features insights from an impressive array of influential women and men (including Women Media Center founders Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem and former WMC presidents Carol Jenkins and Jehmu Greene). It powerfully makes the case that the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls is not only at the root of such rising epidemics as eating disorders, self-mutilation and depression in teenage girls, but is largely responsible for the glaring under-representation of women in all positions of power and influence in America.

The film underscores the disempowering message that the media sends to young girls: that a woman’s value lies in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, not in her true voice or her capacity to lead. What Jane Fonda calls a “toxic hyper-sexualization of young girls” and airbrushed images everywhere make the ideal of beauty ever more impossible to achieve. And women and girls seem to internalize these harmful messages in such a subliminal way that we tend to become passive and apathetic.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom—a former actress who was once told by her agent to hide her age and her Stanford MBA—tackles these issues in full force through her film and a corresponding social action campaign. As the documentary’s writer and director, Siebel Newsom elicits stories from teenage girls, insights from activists and academics, and anecdotes from politicians (such as Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Cory Booker) and media stars and entertainers (Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Geena Davis, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson). The interviews intermix with shocking images and a bombardment of thought-provoking statistics. To give just a few examples: the United States ranks 90th in the world in women’s representation in national legislatures; 65 percent of American women and girls have an eating disorder; rates of depression among women and young girls have doubled in the past ten years; cosmetic surgeries performed on youth 18 or younger more than tripled from 1997 and 2007; and 15 percent of rape victims are girls under the age of 12.

As a teen, Siebel Newsom herself fell victim to sexual assault, and she talks in the film of suffering from low self esteem and eating disorders. Another factor in making the film was her sense that “injustice towards women in the media has worsened over time with the 24/7 news cycle and the advent of infotainment and reality television.” She also was disturbed by the often misogynistic treatment of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign and of the first female speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Closest to home, Siebel Newsom was ultimately “compelled” as a mother of a young daughter to make the documentary. She dreams of a better future for her daughter, in a culture that doesn’t “demean and degrade and disrespect women on a regular basis.” She hopes the documentary and action campaign can point to “a path that recognizes and empowers women and girls.”

Siebel Newsom says she made a point to include men in the film, saying that having just given birth to a son, she finds herself “particularly concerned about the culture that he’s being raised in, and the kind of man he’s going to be.” She says, “the media is this huge pedagogical force of communication—it’s dictating our cultural values and our gender norms.” She adds, “What unfortunately happens is girls and boys buy into this belief system, this construct, and then boys continue to perpetuate it, by objectifying women and not valuing women or giving them the seat at the table.” The men in the film are some of its most outspoken advocates and allies. Siebel Newsom’s husband, Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California, says in the film that he makes a point of appointing women to high positions. “If people knew that Cuba, China, Iraq and Afghanistan have more women in government than the United States of America,” he says “that would get some people upset.” Newark’s Cory Booker speaks from his point of view as mayor of a struggling and rising city: “We’re shortchanging voices that are urgently needed in public forums from ever getting to the table.” Siebel Newsom underscores Booker’s point, citing research proving “that the more diversity and more women you have in leadership, both in government and business, the greater the productivity, the creativity and the bottom line. We need to get women into the pipelines.”

Adding to the scope of the problem is another crack in the pipeline—women currently hold only 3 percent of clout positions within the mainstream media industry itself. At last week’s East Coast premiere of “Miss Representation” at the Paley Center for Media in New York City, Pat Mitchell, president of the center and also in the documentary, led a spirited panel that included Christiane Amanpour, who confessed she found herself “enraged” by the film. Lamenting that many women newscasters today “are forced to wear skirts and v-necks down to here,” she also called it an “outrage” that, given “so many competent and brilliant” women, “there is still no female head of a television news network.”

In “Miss Representation,” Katie Couric says she did see her role as the first solo female anchor of a network TV evening news program as an “opportunity to mix it up a little,” to send the “message that a woman could be as confident as a man in an important, powerful role.” However, the film discusses how much of the media coverage about Couric at that time focused on what she was wearing or her dating life, or, later, pitting her against another female evening news anchor, Diane Sawyer. Observes Couric, “whenever there are two women who are working in similar professions, it’s automatically positioned as a catfight.” Another important thread throughout the film focuses on the need for women to support, encourage and mentor each other, to work against a climate that would have them do otherwise.

Siebel Newsom is hoping that “Miss Representation” will spark thoughtful dialogue on these pivotal issues and that “the discussion turns into action around valuing women in our culture.” In addition to asking people to sign a pledge to “spread the message,” the web site offers a host of resources, actions and tips on creating change. They also have embarked on an ambitious campaign to distribute the documentaryand its educational curriculum to schools and libraries, believing that a critical part of the solution will be in helping younger generations become media literate. Ultimately Siebel Newsom says her biggest hope and faith lies in each one of us learning “to recognize our own unique power. I want women to remember that we are 86 percent of consumers, and so we have a choice. We need to support good media, healthy media.”

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is hopeful. “At the end of the day, I think once we start valuing women, and valuing the feminine, you’re going to see a huge cultural transformation. So that’s really my goal.” “Miss Representation” premieres on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) on October 20, 2011, at 9pm EST/MST/PST (8pm Central), followed by a one-hour special with Rosie O’Donnell in which Jennifer Siebel Newsom and guests, including WMC’s Gloria Steinem and Carol Jenkins, will highlight the film’s call to action. Find out more at