From how to keep fit to how to keep a husband

By Roz Hardie, Object CEO

Violence against women is “an extensive human rights abuse” across Europe with one in three women reporting some form of physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15 and 8% suffering abuse in the last 12 months, according to the largest survey of its kind on the issue.

A survey, published in 2014 by the FRA, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, , based on interviews with 42,000 women across 28 EU member states, found extensive abuse across the continent, which typically goes unreported and undetected by the authorities.

fra dv stats

One in 10 women have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, while one in 20 has been raped.

One in 10 women have been stalked by a previous partner.

Most violence is carried out by a current or former partner, with 22% of women in relationships reporting partner abuse.

About one third (31%) who report being raped by a partner have been repeatedly raped, which the report defines as six or more times.

Violence against women is one of the least reported crimes. Only 14% of women reported their most serious incident of partner violence to the police, while a similar percentage (13%) reported their most serious incident of non-partner violence.

Just over one in 10 women experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before they were 15.

This is the context in which WECAMS is campaigning against ‘jokey’ adverts about violence against women.  Here is a recent example from Italy of extreme minimisation of gendered violence

italian sexist ad punchbag

The ad shows a punchbag in a pair of women’s lacey pants, the kind that are usually associated with sexy attire.  The slogan, from how to keep fit to how to keep a husband.

in the context of many women literally being used as punchbags by their husbands or partners such adverts serve to minimise the seriousness of domestic abuse.

Wecams wants the European Commission to take firm action to regulate such material, in line with resolutions from the elected European Parliament.

Please sign and share our petition to help raise awareness of the widespread public concern about such materials.

Infographic French

petition promoter

infographic italian

“Elimina tutte le tracce”.


Elimina tutte le tracce Billboard advert being used to illustrate our Italian petition


An Italian billboard. There is a man in the foreground with cleaning cloth in his hands. The background  shows an inanimate ‘woman’s body’, legs stretched on what appears to be a bed.  

The slogan: Get rid of all the traces.

Many saw it as a deliberate ‘Crime Scene Investigation’ allusion.  The legs stretched to an inanimate body of women, the upper part of her body covered which suggests the idea of a crime .

This was two years ago; an advert for a company that sells personal and household products!


Complaints from members of the public are one thing and people power does work but why are such adverts appearing in the first place? The European Parliament has passed several resolutions demanding an end to sexism in advertising.  What we want is for the European Commission to reflect the wishes of the democratically elected MEPs and develop ways to enforce the views of the Parliament.

The WECAMS partnership is led in Italy by Donne Inquota

You can support us by sharing this post and the link to the petition.

Change petition – link to Italian version


infographic italianwecams petition qr code italian

From car as sexually harassed ‘lady’ to car as semi-clad woman

By Roz Hardie, object ceo



This photo was taken by Jill Posener in London, on Farringdon Road in 1979. Object is grateful to Jill for permission to use her work.

In the late 1970s a cheeky bit of Feminist Graffiti was photographed by Jill Posener on Farringdon Road in London. The Fiat ad said “If it were a lady it would get its bottom pinched.”  The spraypainted response “If this lady was a car she’d run you down.”

The photo became an iconic image of women publicly hollering back at daft sexist adverts. Continue reading

There’s strong public feeling against sexist ads

By Roz Hardie, Object CEO

Public relations professionals and newspaper editors take note.  Many members of the public are unhappy about the way sexism is used to sell products.  This is reflected in last year’s complaints data from the UK.


ASA table showing 2014’s most complained about ads.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority recently published the list of the most complained about ads for 2014.

Top and third position were held by adverts that sexually objectify women or joked about men’s violence against women.  Both involved the Sun. Continue reading

Applying the ‘CHIPS Test’ in Europe

By Roz Hardie, Object Chief Executive Officer

Using the CHIPS Test, devised by Caroline Heldman in the USA, is one way of looking at media sexism.  Here’s how it could be applied to sexist ads, targeted at a European market.

The following ads all come from the UK and have come to the attention of WECAMS partner, Object.

1) Commodity: Does the image show a sexualised person as a commodity, for example, as something that can be bought and sold?

‘Become an escort’ An advert from the current issue of Zoo magazine, a lads’ mag which you can buy in many mainstream retailers e.g. Sainsbury’s.

zoo escort

Advert for Platinum select escort agency in Zoo magazine

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How to Spot Sexual Objectification: The CHIPS Test

The CHIPS test – The CHIPS Test is an easy way to identify sexual objectification. If the answer is “yes” to any of the following questions, the image you are looking at is sexually objectifying.

CHIPS = Commodity/ Harmed/ Interchangeable/ Parts/ Stand-In

Dr. Caroline

The CHIPS Test is an easy way to identify sexual objectification. If the answer is “yes” to any of the following questions, the image you are looking at is sexually objectifying.

1) Commodity: Does the image show a sexualized person as a commodity, for example, as something that can be bought and sold?


2) Harmed: Does the image show a sexualized person being harmed, for example, being violated or unable to give consent?


3) Interchangeable: Does the image show a sexualized person as interchangeable, for example, a collection of similar bodies?


4) Parts: Does the image show a sexualized person as body parts, for example, a human reduced to breasts or buttocks?


5) Stand-In: Does the image present a sexualized person as a stand-in for an object, for example, a human body used as a chair or a table?

Stand In

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Daily Star’s ‘Page 3’ adverts banned for being sexist and offensive


Object protestors presenting Valentine’s card collage of media sexism from Daily Star to owner ‘Richard Desmond’

The Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) has upheld Object’s complaint about the Daily Star ads ‘Win a date with Daily Star Page 3 babe!’

 The ASA finds that the ads “inherently involved the objectification of [women’s] bodies”. The ASA also finds that the women were presented as “interchangeable ”  rather than specific individuals by the Daily Star, and concluded that the  “notion of offering women as a prize to be sexist, offensive and socially irresponsible”.

OBJECT has campaigned against media sexism across all platforms, including the print media, highlighting the extent to which women are objectified and reduced to their body parts in newspapers such as the Daily Star. This is coupled with the trivialisation of violence against women, where often such reports are juxtaposed with topless images and porn ads.

Beti Baraki, Campaigns and Outreach Officer said:

 “We welcome the ASA’s ruling on the Daily Star ads. We find that the ritual and persistent sexual objectification of women and girls is still a common theme in the UK press and that this is a form of discrimination against women as it normalises sexist and harmful attitudes towards us. The press has a responsibility towards its readers and the wider public and constantly peddling sexist and discriminatory imagery runs contrary to public interest and we welcome the fact that the ASA recognises this practice as being nothing more than sexist and socially irresponsible.”

daily star today

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