Sex object culture
OBJECT is a human rights organisation which challenges ‘sex object culture’ - a culture in which women are increasingly objectified as sex objects in our media and every day lives.
It is long established that the overwhelming portrayal of women as sex objects in society plays a role in maintaining inequality between women and men. This has been recognised at the international level by the United Nations Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which calls on States to take decisive action to tackle objectification – which it links to stereotypes and prejudices based on gender (8). CEDAW has since repeatedly identified (9) the links between the portrayal of women as sex objects by the media and sex industry with attitudes that underpin violence and discrimination against women.
In 2008 the UN CEDAW Committee cross-examined the UK to assess its progress in fulfilling CEDAW obligations. On gender stereotyping and the portrayal of women in the media and popular culture it was found that the UK had still not enacted any relevant policies. The committee strongly called for action to be taken by the UK Government (10).
The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) has also repeatedly highlighted (11) the sexualisation of women in the media and popular culture as a 'conducive context' for violence against women and has called for action to tackle this, in particular via the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Read our FAQ about sex object culture here (pdf):
(1) Dove ‘The Real Truth About Beauty’, 2004. 3200 women interviewed aged 18-64 from 10 countries via telephone
(2) BEAT eating disorders charity 'About eating disorders': http://www.b-eat.co.uk/PressMediaInformation/Somestatistics
(3) mykindaplace.comsurvey of 1,800 teenage girls, 2005
(5) End Violence Against Women Coalition (2008) Realising Rights,Fulfiling Obligations: A Template for an Integrated Strategy on Violence Against Women for the UK
(6) Amnesty International UK (2005) Sexual Assault Research: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=16618
(7) Buckingham and Bragg (2003) Young people, media and personal relationships, Institute of Education
(8) 1979 Convention on Ending All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Article 5).
(9) Eg. 1993 Convention on Ending All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
(10) 2008 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Concluding Observations on the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Forty First Session)
(11) Eg. Realising Rights,Fulfiling Obligations: A Template for an Integrated Strategy on Violence Against Women for the UK (2008)