When Melinda Tankard Reist’s latest book, Getting Real: Challenging the sexualisation of girls, was published last year, a reviewer described it as a “collective shout against the pornification of culture”. “I liked the phrase so much I decided to give it to a new grassroots campaign I’d been thinking about,” says the Australian advocate for women and girls. Here she talks to MercatorNet about the impact that campaign is having.
Mercatornet: What is your overall aim in confronting the pornification of culture?
Melinda Tankard Reist: The aim of Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation is to name, shame and expose advertisers, corporations and marketers who objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services. We are at the forefront of nation-wide action to pressure them to recognise their corporate social responsibility not to depict women and girls in ways that harm them.
Our overall aim in confronting various forms of objectification is to make them unacceptable. We want companies to think twice before using exploitative, hyper-sexualised imagery of women. We also want them to think twice before marketing inappropriate sexualised toys, games, clothes and other products to children. We want them to recognise what the research says about the connections between over-sexualised imagery and negative physical and mental health outcomes in young people and children especially.
We also oppose the ultimate outworking of repackaging little girls as sexually interesting, which is the global trade in their bodies. We challenge anything that treats the bodies of women and girls as appropriate elements of sexual commerce and fuels the global industries of pornography and prostitution.
Read it all here.