Collective Shout is a grassroots campaigning movement against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in media, advertising and popular culture.
What would you like our readers to know about your organization? How does your organization empower young people?
We are not a ‘top heavy’ organization. We empower our supporters to speak out and make their voices heard. Often people come to us with concerns. We provide them with information and support them with how to best present their complaint.
What is the focus of your organization?
- To expose corporations, advertisers, marketers, and media who objectify women and sexualize children to sell products and services
- To pressure the corporations, advertisers, etc. to change their behavior
- To bring an end to the broader pornification of our culture by challenging the hyper-sexualized images which have become mainstream
- To, more broadly, challenge all forms of sexual trade and commerce in women’s bodies, including pornography, prostitution, and trafficking
- To help concerned individuals take up their rightful voice in the public square bearing in mind the dictum “The standard you walk past is the standard you set.”
What do you feel is the most dangerous aspect of advertising today?
The sexual objectification of women is one of the most prevalent issues we encounter in advertising. We see women used as decorative objects. We see sexualized women’s bodies and body parts used to promote anything from beer to coffee beans to organ donation. We see women without heads, women posed in submissive stances, and women reduced to meat or a particular body part, demeaned and presented as objects for men’s entertainment and use.
Another disturbing growing trend, often showcased in high fashion advertising, is the eroticization of male dominance and violence against women in advertising and popular culture. This can mean sexualizing crimes of violence against women; making rape, battering, and even murder appear sexy.
What is sexualization?
The American Psychological Association did a major study on the sexualization of girls in 2007. They defined sexualization as occurring when:
- A person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics
- A person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy
- A person is sexually objectified — that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person
What effects of it do you see on the culture?
Sexualization impacts girls as they learn to see themselves primarily in terms of their physical appearance or how appealing they are to men, and they are made to feel that the most important thing is to be thin, hot, and sexy. They are not valued for their intelligence, their talents, or their contributions to the world.
Research indicates that sexualization is harmful to children’s cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality, and beliefs. The emphasis on these often unattainable standards of beauty can contribute to depression, anxiety, self-harm, and eating disorders.
Boys are struggling, too, particularly with added pressure on them to have a certain ‘ripped’ body type.
What can parents do to protect their children?
Parents can put appropriate boundaries on screen time and other media. They can refuse to financially support retailers and others who sexualize children and objectify women to sell products. They can encourage their daughters to value themselves for their skills and abilities rather than their appearance. They need to model healthy behaviors and a positive body image themselves – stop engaging in ‘fat talk’ and focus on fitness rather than weight loss.