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March 19, 2016

#WomenNotObjects Urges Advertisers to Stop Talking to Us That Way

A powerful video calls on advertisers to stop treating women as sexual objects.

by Ayunda Nurvitasari
Blow Thumbnail, Magdalene

Ever tried giving a sandwich a blowjob? Apparently it’s something women do, implies one Burger King advertisement. It is one of the advertisements shown in a YouTube video dubbed “We are #WomenNotObjects”, which highlights the exploitation of women’s bodies in the advertising industry.
It starts with a Google search with the keywords: “objectification of women”, which turns up numerous  ads that hypersexualize women or  use them as mere props to sell products.
The brilliant touch was the ironic commentary that accompanies each advertisement.
 “I love giving blowjobs to sandwiches,” says one women, referring to a banner ad depicting a woman in a suggestive pose facing a BK Super 7 Incher.
 “I love sacrificing my dignity for a drink,” says another, while holding a poster of a bikini-clad woman lying down under the crotch of a man in suit holding a bottle of  Skyy vodka.
A few more similar scenes and the video ends with a strong statement, a reminder that “I am your” mother/daughter/sister/coworker/manager/CEO, so “Don’t talk to me that way”.
Madonna Badger, who works in an advertising agency, initiated the campaign and recalled how the idea struck her as an epiphany in an interview with TODAY on NBC News. She came to a realization that the old paradigm of innovation in marketing that includes provoking insecurities by “getting inside the shoes of your consumer” or “filling the consumers with shame and anxiety”, then make the product as the problem solver, has to come to an end.
In the more recent video launched last week entitled “#IStandUp Against the Harm Caused by Objectification of Women In Advertising”, Badger underlines the destructive impacts that the advertisements have on girls and young women, starting from attacking their self-esteem, jeopardizing their health, to “trivializing battering, sexual assaults and even murder”.
The campaign boldly aims to end women objectification on advertisements as an attempt to restore women’s value, that they are more than simply props, as well as to “teach girls that their worth is not their weight, their looks or their body parts, but who they are, what they have to say and what they can do”.
The campaign also encourages dialogues and supports on several social media sites using hashtags #WomenNotObjects to rise together and inspire advertising industry, so they will find a better way to promote their products. Watch this powerful video below and visit their YouTube channel.

Ayunda is interested in the intersection of pop culture, media, and gender issues. She earned her master's degree at Cultural Studies department, University of Indonesia. She is into Lana Del Rey, speculative fiction, and BoJack Horseman. Her own social media sites, however, are quite uneventful, but feel free to say hi: facebooktwitter.