On Nov. 18, 2015, Madonna Badger googled the phrase “objectification of women.” What she found, of course, were countless advertisements featuring women’s bodies only there to serve as sexualized props.
In response, Badger — a well-known advertising company cofounder who has worked with brands like Vera Wang, Avon and Diane von Fürstenberg — pledged that her company will no longer create ads that use women as objects. Further, she refuses to put out images that are airbrushed “to the point of perfection.”
She also produced a NSFW video for her #WomenNotObjects campaign that calls out a variety of companies and the ridiculous ways they hyper-sexualize women.
“I love giving blow jobs to sandwiches,” one says while holding an ad of a woman holding a phallic-shaped sandwich in front of her mouth.
“I love sleeping with guys who don’t know my name,” adds another.
“Obviously, my cleavage can sell anything.”
“I’m only here for your entertainment.”
And many, many others.
Badger admits that she was once the very person behind those types of ad campaigns. She was responsible for creating the infamous Calvin Klein ads of the ’90s that featured Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg.
Her attitude toward how women are treated changed after her own daughters were killed during a 2011 fire, along with her parents. She wanted to find a way to honor the memory of her daughters and she couldn’t do that by promoting the very thing that holds women back in society. “I love my job but I don’t want to do it if it hurts anyone,” she told the Washington Post. “I want my life to have a purpose.”
The #WomenNotObjects campaign is picking up steam and, as we’ve seen with other movements, it looks like people are finally paying attention. Will it fix things automatically? No, but preventing even one objectifying advertisement will help. Let’s just hope other advertising agencies are paying attention.