Typo withdraws porn themed products

[UPDATED] But some items still appear on their website. Take Action.

Collective Shout supporters have taken to social media over the festive season, launching a campaign against stationery retailer ‘Typo’ for selling porn themed products.

Images of these items were posted on our Facebook page and one woman – Tess Corkish – created an online petition calling on Typo to withdraw the products:

The issue was quickly picked up by media and discussed on Sunrise.

Typo has announced via an email sent to Philippa that they will be withdrawing “porn is my saviour” travel mugs and “various other items” from their stores. Collective Shout welcomes this decision and calls on Typo to be proactive in ensuring that none of their products sexualise, exploit or degrade women and children.

Typo is part of the Cotton On group. Cotton On Kids sparked anger in 2009 for selling sleazy baby rompers and slogan tees for children. A social media backlash pressured them into withdrawing over 40,000 of these items from stores.

But Cotton On is still not in the clear. Like City Beach, Factorie and Universal stores, they continue to push porn to young people via their porn themed t-shirt range. Please ‘like’ Say No to Porn T-shirts on Facebook.

We call on retailers to make proactive decisions now, before they are faced with a PR nightmare and a tarnished reputation. Not all publicity is good publicity.  No doubt Collective Shout supporters will be keeping watch to make sure Typo keeps its word.

This is the statement Typo shared on their Facebook page in response to complaints. (Click on the image to enlarge)

Typo has missed the point. It’s not just about the kids. It’s about objectification, sexism and degradation of women. Women are not ‘dirty’ nor are they ‘entertainment for men.’ If an adult or ‘young adult’ as they describe their target market used these items at a university, library or work place, others would have a right to complain. Of course children’s exposure to these items is an issue as it sends a negative message to them about the value and role of women and girls in society.

[UPDATE] TAKE ACTION

Typo is still selling porn-themed products via its website. Contact Typo here and ask them to remove all porn-themed products from stores and their website. Also post a message to Typo’s Facebook page here.

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13 Comments

  1. Lily
    Posted 15 Jan ’12 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Get over it and stop complaining. This is clearly not an intentional attack on women. I don’t see complaints about women who are intentionally sexualised on the television commercials, billboards, car and sport advertisement! Just pick on one mug, book and Iphone cover when this is going on in much greater scope everyday. Children have far more exposure to this type of thing on television rather than in a stationary store.

  2. Lily
    Posted 16 Jan ’12 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Yes it is all part of the bigger scope but definitely not to the degree which can be seen on television and advertisements. It seems like a bit of a target picking out one retailer when there are thousands taking part. Being a woman myself I do not find Typo’s products offensive. Women are always going to be sexulaised and idealised, it has only been going on for the last few 1000 years and before. Just look at ancient paintings and art by some of the most influential artists currently known such as Picaso and Botticelli. Ancient works before the birth of Jesus contain these sorts of images. Typo have taken responsibility for their actions if you are not aware, as they have had a huge recall on many of their current products. The company does alot of charity work for children in poverty in Africa and clearly was not trying to intentionally offend anyone but rather to be edgy and cool which is exactly what will attract teenagers. I know when I went to school teenage boys covered their school books with naked women from magazines without the help of Typo. There is far too much complaining about insignificant events when there are much larger issues to be dealt with such as poverty, terrorism, violence and suffering.

    • Team CS
      Posted 17 Jan ’12 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi again Lily,

      As I said, we agree with you regarding television and advertisements. But from our blog surely you can see that we have not picked out one retailer?

      Yes, there are many retailers doing similar, but obviously we cannot take up every issue we identify. We simply do not have the resources. We do encourage our supporters to speak out on ads and products that sexualise and objectify women. Supporters are actively doing this all the time, even if we don’t publish an article about it ourselves. If we took up every issue we identified, we would never sleep.

      Regarding your comment ‘women are always going to be sexualised and idealised.’ Sure, does that mean we shouldn’t do anything about it? Throughout history, women have always been raped, sold into slavery and treated as second class citizens. At one time, women were prohibited from voting. Many organisations are working to eradicate slavery, stop sexual assault and rape and are working towards women’s equality. When a problem is identified we don’t just sit back defeated and say ‘well it’s always been that way, so therefore it should always be that way.’ No, instead we work towards change.

      I don’t think the artistic works you’re talking about really compare with the mass market objectification of women used to generate profit. It’s also important to point out that while you may not find these images offensive yourself, they are still sexist and still objectify women. Perhaps others are also ‘not offended’ simply because they have become so desensitised to sexist imagery.

      It wasn’t that long ago that I was in school and I do not recall any teenage boys covering their books with pornographic images. I do know that if they had tried that, they would have been marched down to the school office and their books confiscated. This behaviour from boys would constitute sexual harassment. We have heard from many teachers who have said that they would not tolerate this in their classroom. They are angry that this stuff is being designed for the classroom as it is yet another issue they have to deal with.

      I agree that there are a lot of big issues in the world. The impact on girls from sexualisation and objectification of women is one of them and that is the issue our organisation addresses. You might be interested in reading more about that. If you click on ‘resources’ in the top horizontal menu, you’ll find a list of research papers. One that might be of interest is the American Psychological Association’s report on the sexualisation of girls. Another that comes to mind is ‘corporate sexism.’ I encourage you to read though any of these papers as it will give you more of an idea of where we’re coming from.

    • Rowan Hagen
      Posted 21 Jan ’12 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Lily, you are right about the seriousness of poverty, terrorism, war and suffering . But the sexual abuse and denigration of women is interwoven with all these issues. It is all part of a continuum that includes, rape, sex trafficking etc. A society that permits products like those shown above is the same society that impedes justice for crimes against women in other ways. Insulting messages on commonly-available items may seem trivial, but the harm lies in their seeming innocuousness. They imply that the denigration of women is fun, is ‘okay.’

  3. Lily
    Posted 17 Jan ’12 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Well as long as men find women sexually attractive this will continue in society. Those artworks are a perfect example of the sexualisation, objectification and idealism of women, clearly you have little knowledge of art. Anyone who has studied gender in art at university would know that. The first ever known sulpture of a woman venus of willendorf is yet another example of this which was dated to 24000 BCE. I went to a strict private school and even if the tachers didn’t see it this was definitely going on. How can you assume this book was designed for the back to school sale. It certainly wasn’t when I went into the store. I know there are huge issues such as rape, slavery and women’s rights but I do not see this as such a crime.

    • Team CS
      Posted 17 Jan ’12 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Lily,

      Just because men find women sexually attractive does not mean they have to exploit, degrade and objectify them. Men are capable of treating women with respect and as equal human beings. Unfortunately many men – and sadly some women – believe it is ok to treat women this way. They even go as far as marketing products that sexually objectify women. This is what Typo has done. Women’s bodies are used to make money.

      You’re right, I’m not an expert in art. Interestingly a lot of companies defend their marketing as ‘art’ believing that this gives them some special license to continue objectifying women. We don’t agree.

      If you have an interest in art, you might find this interesting: http://www.guerrillagirls.com/ I heard about them when I saw a sticker with the words:

      Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?
      Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.

      I don’t think I did suggest that the book was designed specifically for the back to school sale, but it was certainly part of it. Again, the products are displayed in the public space and designed for use in the public space. Many of Typo’s customers are clearly teenagers.

      You said that you don’t see this as ‘such a crime.’ Did you get a chance to look at the resources I mentioned? They describe the impact of sexualisation and objectification of women. They include increased depression, anxiety, body image problems and eating disorders. Eating disorders kill women and girls and are very difficult to treat. Companies that objectify women and sexualise children are harming women and girls. This is well documented.

      We would also argue that a culture that objectifies women (as you said, this imagery is everywhere, not just Typo) and sees women and girls as objects of sexual recreation contributes to the worldwide problem of human sex trafficking. Trafficking is the ultimate outworking of the view that women exist for men’s sexual gratification. When you objectify someone, whether it be because of their gender, their race or some other reason, that is often the first step towards justifying violence against that person. Many of these issues are connected. By challenging Typo on their choice of products, we are challenging the attitude that it is ok to objectify women.

  4. Posted 19 Jan ’12 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Dear Lily, I am a teenage girl and I am offended by these images. Just because something has been going on for thousands of years does not make it right. Slavery has been going for thousands of years and so that makes it okay to post it on t-shirts and the media right? Wrong. Because there are far more people who object to slavery rather than a sexualized woman. Why? Because it pleasures half the world. Because women cant see how its affecting their worth to men. When men view woman only sexually, it causes violence, and abuse, and trafficking, and boys at school taking advantage of girls because of something they saw on tv or a t-shirt or in the mall. Your comment that these images don’t offend you is offensive to me. Especially when I know for a fact that every boy who has ever said/done anything sexually explicit to me watches or owns pornographic images. How could you not see how this relates to the universal norm that women are nothing? So many think that these little things are okay. Well guess what? Hugh Hefner started off as a small business and now look at him- legally prostituting women from all over the place. Letting abuse, rape, and diseases spread through our people. Leading young men into a fantasized world of sex and women to believe that this world is something they must be a part of if they are to be liked. The young men end up confused, dissapointed, and unsatisfied. The women end up hurt, lost, and feeling absolutely worthless.

  5. Caity
    Posted 3 Feb ’12 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Hello everyone,
    Firstly, can I just say I agree with Lily. A silly mug talking about porn or a t-shirt with a picture of a woman wearing a sexy outfit on it is hardley abusing women or promoting rape or sexual abuse. Being a victim of sexual abuse in the past, I still find these things amusing as I am sure the teenagers that buy them do. What are you going to do next, ban the internet so teenagers can’t look up pornographic photos or videos?? I appreciate what your doing, but a novelty shirt or mug is hardley promoting sexism and misogyny. It’s merely a bit of fun. I’m sure there are many women who enjoy mugs or phone covers with half naked men on them. True, Typo does not seem to selling this sort of item, BUT . . . if it were for sale, I would buy it.

  6. Paul
    Posted 12 Feb ’12 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    I find this article rather disturbing… I’m not sure going on an anti-porn crusade is a good idea… Pornography is in human nature’s viscera since dawn of humanity, it would go against our own nature! for the more, pornography serves social purposes you seem to forget, and essential to our society (control of fantasies and frustration, and entertainment)!

    The real problem with those items is that they are tacky and lack taste!

    Regarding the over exposition of children to that kind of media, isn’t it the job of responsible parents?!

    I don’t believe at all in the part where you write “If … their target market used these items at a university, library … , others would have a right to complain.” What about freedom here, it is not a billboard, just a mug 12cm high!? If you are annoyed by those images just turn your head! Most people wouldn’t care…

    Regarding the word “Dirty” why are you so sure that the it is aimed at the woman posing? or at women in general? The way I see it, it is more saying something like “dirty thoughts”, “let’s get dirty”… it is not written “she is dirty” or “you (women) are dirty”.

    When you write about “objectification, sexism and degradation of women”, I’m sorry, I just don’t see it… Why does it have to be degrading to be desirable, or to be capable of sexual intercourse? Why is that sexism? Because, last time I checked, women involved in the porn industry, behind or in front of the camera, are mostly, women of power, making $$$ per year and for some of them running some of the most lucrative production companies?! I am not saying they should be seen as an example for womankind (it’s one own individual choice to choose how to make a living) but definitely not as a vector of women’s victimisation.

    To sum it up, I would just say, that going against pornography, which is just an adult entertainment (for both sexes cf: female friendly porn) after all, will have probably the opposite effect. By stigmatising it, porn will probably stay (longer not forever) in dark creepy rooms in grim sex shops, which I don’t believe to be a good idea. Puritanism is the mother of the shadiest vice, it been proved in recent history…

    And I think at last I would have to say to justify my position that I’am a man, who respects women, especially my girlfriend!, and who also enjoys pornography.

    ps: I hope you won’t find any offences in my post, this is just my position.

  7. Steph
    Posted 27 Apr ’12 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    “… we never intended [Typo] to be a brand for children..”

    Right, because all the adults I know use pencil cases, multi-coloured pens and small scissors that look like rabbits.

  8. Tessa
    Posted 28 Apr ’12 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Informed Cotton on (and typo) that i will be promoting a boycott at my all-girls school. They used to love typo. But they hate exploitation of women. Therefore, by extrapolation, they now hate typo and cotton-on & rubi.

    Good work Collective shout!

  9. Samuel
    Posted 13 May ’12 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    That response by Typo is PATHETIC! That’s all I have the energy to say right now, but I’m still boycotting them, and letting this known to my friends to do the same.

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