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This campaign calls out advertisers using women as objects

The #WomenNotObjects campaign wants advertisers to stop using naked women to flog anything from burgers to perfume.

A new campaign is calling on the advertising industry to stop objectifying women to sell…well, basically anything.

The #WomenNotObjects campaign was set up by New York advertising executive Madonna Badger after she became frustrated by the ways in which women’s bodies are used to sell products from burgers to perfume.

A video accompanying the campaign has been gaining steady traction on social media, with support from Ashton Kutcher and UN Women. It features a variety of ads for well-known brands including Tom Ford and Burger King showing women in sexually suggestive and often downright weird poses (why anyone would simulate fellatio on a burger, I have no idea.)

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Badger explains that she was motivated to highlight sexism within the ad industry after her children tragically died in a house fire in 2011. A well-known figure within the advertising world, Badger says “I love my job, but I don’t want to do it if it hurts anyone”. By shining a light on how the advertising industry routinely sexualises and demeans women in order to sell products, Badger hopes to honour her children’s memories.

Sexualising women to sell products is by no means new, and indeed there’s a distinction to be made between artists celebrating the female body and cynical advertisers using models to flog burgers or videogames. The campaign asks advertisers to ask themselves basic questions before running ads – questions like, “has this woman been reduced to a provocative body part?” or “does this woman have a choice or a voice?” Sort of like a Bechdel Test, but for advertising, instead of films. 

Check out the video below.