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

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

View original post

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

Continue reading

Why I signed the petition…..

sexism sell

” YES… we can.”

“I felt strongly about this issue before I had a daughter, but now I am even more angry that she will grow up in a world that treats women this way.”

“If your product is any good, you don’t need sexism to sell it.”

“It’s 2015, not 1923!”

“Sexist imagery in advertising affects all women and their self esteem.”

“Sexist adverts are lazy and unnecessary advertising, which make women and men feel uneasy and alienated on a daily basis.”

“The attitude to women on the media is subtle and insidious. It subconsciously influences everyday life.”



7 March 2015

On International Women’s Day three European organisations will launch a petition on – ‘No to sexist adverts’

WECAMS (Women’s European Coalition Against Sexism Media), is a coalition created by three organisations which have long specialised in the fight against sexist advertising, Donne in Quota, Italy, Object in Great Britain and Les Chiennes de Gardes in France.  They have decided to pool their energies to fight at European level against gender stereotypes in advertising.

The petition will be delivered to the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality to insist that its resolutions are no longer be flouted by companies and their  advertising agencies.

Press contacts :

Italy :

UK :



Notes to editors

European Parliamentary resolutions (2008/2038; 2010/1751; 2012/2116)

Italian petition

French petition

UK petition


WECAMS meet with European network of advertising regulators to call for action to end sexist advertising

On 13 February 2014, WECAMS met with the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) once again to urge them to act in the following areas:

–          EASA should commit to respecting the European Parliament resolution that prohibits sexual stereotyping in media;

–          EASA should make clear recommendations to its members to end assessments of advertising according to ‘taste and decency’ criteria; they should assess them with reference to equalities legislation;

–          EASA members should include clear definitions in their codes of sexual objectification and sexual stereotyping, along with criteria to identify these and explanations of why they are harmful;

–          EASA members should liaise with women’s groups to develop more robust codes (or have women experts on juries or committees).

EASA representatives responded that the network has no code of its own; each self-regulatory organization (SRO) has its own code and EASA’s recommendations are non-binding. Additionally, the level of control that the European SROs have varies from country to country. Advertising is rarely vetted prior to broadcast or publication, for example. WECAMS urged EASA to use its influence and play its role of standard-setting and promoting best practice. We agreed that there may be opportunities for WECAMS to deliver training for the SROs on what constitutes harmful and discriminatory content, as well as sexual stereotyping and we are currently identifying opportunities to provide such training to the maximum number of advertising regulators.