15. Challenge sexism in advertising

Find an advert that uses stereotypical gender roles or sexually exploitative or demeaning images or words to depict women or men, and make a complaint to the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau. You can lodge an online complaint by following a series of prompts.

To support your complaint, you can note that the Code of Ethics for both the Australian Association of National Advertisers and the Advertising Standards Bureau states that advertising and marketing should not portray people or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of gender; employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative and degrading of any individual or group of people; and shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience.

How does it help?

Marketing and advertising can serve to either reinforce, or challenge, the attitudes and norms which contribute to gender inequality and enable violence against women (Fergus 2012). Evidence shows that community and media interventions can help to prevent violence against women through promoting gender equality and diversity, and challenging gender stereotyping.

Keep going!

Continue to challenge sexism in advertising:

  • Check out this guide to reporting sexist advertising for more ideas on how to make a complaint
  • Check out Collective Shout, a grassroots Australian organisation that challenges the objectification and sexualisation of women and girls in media and advertising
  • Call out any media or advertising displayed at your workplace that is sexist or degrading to women

Please note that these clips/articles contain information regarding the topics of sexism, gender inequality and violence against women. If you find the information distressing, please click through for information and support on self care. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please visit the our help section for further information and support.