When Christmas time rolls around, everyone has a tiny last minute freak out about what to buy and where. If shopping ethically is something that’s important to you, that last-minute shop is made even harder. Feminist organisation, Collective Shout, has released a list of retailers it accuses of being sexist, objectifying or exploitative to make that task a little easier, or tougher, depending on how you look at it.
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Clothing and fashion stores
Sex store chain, Honey Birdette, is one of the worst offenders, according to Collective Shout’s list. Ad Standards has allegedly investigated 66 complaints against the company for their sexist advertising with 38 of the complaints holding up. On top of that, ex-employees have accused the company of being a toxic workplace with female workers alleging they’ve had to tolerate sexual harassment and intimidation from male customers in order to make sales.
The organisation also accuses a number of notable shopping centres and the companies that own them, like Westfield, Stockland and AMP Capital, for continuing to allow Honey Birdette to remain in their buildings.
Myer makes Collective Shout’s list due to hosting a number of brands the organisation deems problematic. Aside from that, it also accuses the department store of displaying hyper-sexualised advertising in its perfume section.
General Pants has also snuck into the list after being accused by Collective Shout of sexist advertising, particularly around their bikini range. Slogans such as “wet dreams” and “slippery when wet” were used as examples.
Body and cosmetics
While Frank Body might be extremely popular among female customers, the brand has been accused by the collective of sexually objectifying women in their advertising as well as “sleazy double entendres and innuendo.” A group of Melbourne teenagers objected to their use of their ‘Send Nudes’ lip tint, which the company dismissed. Mecca, one of Australia’s most popular makeup stores, has also made Collective Shout’s list due to its refusal to stop stocking Frank Body.
Finally, Chemist Warehouse makes an appearance on the list due to selling Playboy-branded items. The organisation argues because Playboy owns adult TV channels and websites, which host brutal and hardcore pornography, stocking its products, like perfume, helps to fund those.
Food stores aren’t exempt from being deemed as sexist either. Roll’d, the Vietnamese fast food chain, made the list after it provided its staff members with shirts reading ‘Hot Noods’, which the organisation argues could lead to increased harassment.
Melbourne-based pizzeria, Pizza Hub, has also been criticised for using the Porn Hub branding despite it being an outlet that sells just pizza.
Amazon made the list for stocking a number of products the collective considers problematic. Collective Shout points to a 2010 example when the site was selling a book called The Paedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A child-lover’s code of conduct but since then, it accuses the online retailer giant of allowing third-party companies of selling pro-rape and pro-paedophilia merchandise.
Wicked Campers has made a name for itself with many of its vans being colourfully painted with controversial slogans. While state ministers have said vans with these slogans will be de-registered if they’re not painted over, the company has still made the list.
UltraTune is a popular car servicing company originating from Melbourne but Collective Shout argues it’s faced a number of complaints due to its portrayal of women in its advertising campaigns. Additionally, UltraTune uses high-profile celebrities with violent histories towards women, which the list argues is a big no-no.
Should I stop shopping from there?
This really comes down to a personal decision. While Collective Shout argues you should take your business elsewhere, this will likely matter more if your views align with the organisation’s. Not everyone’s likely to agree with the judgements made on the list but the most important part is you’re informed when making a conscious decision to choose certain brands and stores over others based on your personal ethics.
Either way you decide, keep it classy this Christmas. Even when some stores won’t.