advertising, objectification, sexualisation, Madonna Badger, sex sells, #WomenNotObjects

“I love my job, but I don’t want to do it if it hurts anyone.”

A new video campaign has emerged targeting the rampant sexism and objectification of women in the advertising industry, by revealing the increasingly horrifying ways in which women have been sexualized to appeal to consumers.

The video features well-known brands such as DirectTV, Tom Ford and Post-It, and was coined by advertising executive, cofounder and creative director of ad agency Badger & Winters, Madonna Badger.

The inspiration came to Badger when she Googled ‘objectifying women’ in October last year, and was met with years worth of degrading ad campaigns featuring women. Correlating oral sex with a sandwich and sexual submission with a cocktail are just a couple of the absurd advertising techniques Badger’s video aims to cast a light on.

Badger has good reason for the protest. In 2011, her two daughters perished in a fire at her home. Now, the advertising exec is hoping to honor them by changing the narrative of women in popular culture, and discouraging the objectification of women. As such, she’s using the hashtag #WomenNotObjects.

“I want my life to have a purpose. I love my job, but I don’t want to do it if it hurts anyone,” Badger told Wall Street Journal.

Although Badger is taking a stand on the issue, she admits she has contributed to the problem during her advertising career, orchestrating the highly sexualized Calvin Klein ads featuring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss. However, she’s now pledged her firm will cease creating ads using women as sexual props to sell products.

As the powerful #WomenNotObjects video highlights, although it’s true sex sells, consistently associating women’s bodies with demeaning scenes perpetuates the destructive ideology that we should be defined solely by our physical appearances. And no product, no matter how tasty or brilliant, is worth that compromise.


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