Bondage, Booth Babes and Breast Staring – Companies’ Exploitation of Women

Bondage, Booth Babes and Breast Staring – Companies’ Exploitation of Women

If having to endure the sexual exploitation of women in the media is not enough, things have devolved to tailgate decals depicting a tied up woman, mobile apps that simulate masturbation and ‘Titstaring,’ and booth babes at a tech conference wearing nothing but pasties and body paint.  Where’s the corporate social responsibility and accountability to women?

Maybe I can excuse the Waco, Texas sign company that put a decal on the back of one of its trucks depicting a woman with her hands and feet bound?  Well, maybe not after hearing what the owner had to say when interviewed by television station KWTX, “It was just something…we had to put out there to see who notices it.”  According to the Huffington Post, the decal was designed to create an optical illusion of an actual woman lying in distress.  It was intended as a promotion to show how realistic the company’s signs are.  It worked.  The company’s decal sales increased and it caused several people to call 911.  What’s more disturbing is that this company’s idea was not unique.  I found 2 other pictures of similar decals on Google (one is shown above).

I definitely can’t excuse the technology companies that continue to exploit women, especially at their tech conferences and hackathon’s.  So much so, the term ‘brogrammers’ is now associated with these events.  According to thenextweb.com, the sponsors of the 2012 hackathon, Boston API Jam, advertised women as one the ‘great perks’ to the ‘brogrammers’ in attendance.  And ‘booth babes,’ the women used by tech companies in their booths at trade shows, were taken to a whole new level at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas when a company featured women wearing pasties and body paint as part of their display.

Just last weekend at there was a backlash at the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon in San Francisco.  According to a report on the Guardin, two Australian hackers developed and demonstrated Titstare, an app they hacked which lets the user take photos of himself watching women’s breasts. Another programmer hacked CircleShake.  A game app described by the Guardian that “measures how much someone can shake a phone within 10 seconds. The best way to display this was to simulate masturbation. The audience found it hilarious.”  I’m sure the 9 year old girl who was at the event to present her own app was not laughing.

Why aren’t these misogynistic events and companies being held accountable for such acts against women?  The UN Global Compact and UN Women think it’s time for companies to step up and start holding themselves accountable, so they collaborated to create the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP), aimed at corporations.  According to the 5th principle of the WEP, companies should take responsibility by adopting policies and programs that empower women, including:

  • Respecting the dignity of women in all marketing and other company materials
  • Ensuring that company products, services and facilities are not used for human trafficking and/or labour or sexual exploitation

At Ajna, we say, “Amen” to WEP’s 5th principle.  It’s time for companies to be held accountable for their actions, especially those that discriminate against, exploit and otherwise diminish women.  It’s also time for companies to take steps to empower their female employees, female customers and to support all women. After all, women hold the majority of purchasing power in the U.S.  You’d think corporate America would be smart enough to figure out that their companies would benefit more from supporting women than from alienating and exploiting us, but I guess not.

Case in point, I am boycotting Samsung.  Why?  There are two reasons:

First, I have an 11 year old daughter that I need to protect.  My daughter wanted a new tablet for her birthday, so I bought her a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 – it looked great in the store and wasn’t as expensive as an iPad.  I get the thing home and find out that Samsung does not build any type of parental controls or blocking capability into the Galaxy Tab 3.  According to the guy at Best Buy none of Samsung’s mobile products offer parental controls.  You have to download an app and use Google Play’s controls which, by the way, were a nightmare to get to on the device I bought.  After several hours of reviewing and trying to download and setup everything, I gave up and put the friggin’ thing back in the box, took it back to Best Buy and exchanged it for a Kindle Fire HD, which does have some built-in controls.  (By the way, Apple’s mobile devices have parental controls as well, but I wasn’t going to spend $500 for a tablet that might last a year.)

Second, in researching this blog I found a video of the big March 2013 launch of Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 phone, so big it was broadcast live in Times Square.  I think Mother Jones put it best, describing the launch as “tacky at best and sexist at worst.”  Take a look for yourself, part of the launch is on YouTube: Samsung UNPACKED 2013: Samsung Galaxy S4 Launch Event.  Aside from all of the obvious female stereotypes strewn throughout, I’m sure you’ll agree with my boycott when you see the women being portrayed as the ditsy drunks and the men as the competent, knowledgeable phone users.  It’s ridiculous!

 

[credit name=”Picture #14″ nurl=”http://izismile.com/2012/11/16/daily_picdump_100_pics-14.html” via=”izismile.com” vurl=”http://izismile.com” license=”cc” lurl=”http://izismile.com/izi_rules.html”] 

Passionate advocate for the advancement and empowerment of women. Prior HR exec and co-founder of Ask Ajna - helping women find their voice in the workplace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*