Want To Sell A Product? Violence Against Women Is The Way To Go!

violence in advertising

First it was “Sex sells” which justified every sleazy, sexualized portrayal of women in advertising campaigns and commercials. It seems the trend has shifted slightly, toward something a lot worse: violence.

If you open any fashion magazine, look online you will see countless campaigns featuring the de-humanization of women, and frankly its gross and disgusting!

violence in advertising

There are plenty of people who feel the same, including Dumbo Feather, an Australian quarterly publication who are dedicated to sharing inspiring stories, people and ideas through their medium. As a brand who no doubt regularly work with advertisers, they have seen it all. The general manager of the magazine, Vicki Likoudis was appalled by what she was seeing from high fashion brands which young men and women regularly see, that she had to do something about it.

She started an online petition at Change.org calling for regulators in the publishing industry to implement a classification system so that advertisements are placed in the appropriate magazines, and buyers and editors have their say in the content.

“Up to one half of Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence according to White Ribbon Australia. Yet advertising companies continue to use sexualized violence against women to promote brands in clothing, shoes, perfumes, and other aspirational consumer goods.” the petition states.

“Why shouldn’t fashion magazines and outdoor advertisements depicting sexualized violence be subject to a classification system?”

violence in advertising

She makes a valid point, and perhaps it is time the system changed for the better. It’s time the people in positions of power in the advertising industry started caring about its consumers rather than manipulating them into buying.

“Violence against anyone in any form is abhorrent. Normalizing violence within ads, lacing them with humor, sometimes under the guise of art, is completely irresponsible and menacing. The implications of sexualized violence in mainstream media for the individual and society are immeasurable. More importantly, it sends the message that we all demand Australia says no to the normalization of violence against women.”

Here here! We want to expand on that and demand the WORLD says no to violence against anyone!

As it stands, there are regulations in place for magazines displaying explicit, sexual and violent content, so why not the same standards for the very advertisers that fund these publications?

Violence in advertising

Vicki, and her partner in the campaign Charlie Sanders are trying to get the attention of Julie Collins MP, Minister for the Status of Women
and Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Communications in Australia to take notice of this important issue.

They even started their own tumblr page called VickiandCharlie where they regularly post pics of violence-laced campaigns. It is shocking how many are out there, and depth they would go. It’s as if sexualizing violence will somehow make it better?

Gender activist group Object! in the UK talk about how the overwhelming portrayal of women as sex objects in society plays a role in maintaining inequality between women and men, and how much more that is amplified through the media. They told us back in December 2012 how the over-sexualization of women in magazine, TV and film is a gateway to violence, and they are working tirelessly to change the mediascape toward women in the UK.

If advertizers are now cashing in on violence toward women, where do we go from there? We have really hit an all time low if exploiting the female gender in a negative way is the way major fashion labels and brands make their money.

We support Vicki Likoudis’ campaign and we hope you will do. If you are passionate about what they are trying to chance, perhaps this will inspire you to write you your local politician, magazine, and influencers to make them aware this is not an issue or a trend that should be celebrated in any way.

violence in advertising




  1. Thanks for the write up GirlTalk HQ – and for your support behind the campaign. Keep up the excellent blog. Love your purpose 🙂 Vicki

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