What is Object
Founded by Dr Sasha Rakoff in 2004, Object is a prize-winning campaigning organisation which has had massive impact on how women are perceived in the media.
OBJECT's successes 2004 - 2014
Working with other feminist organisations, OBJECT’s ‘End Demand’ campaign raised awareness and advocated for the Nordic Model long before France, Ireland or Canada adopted it. Some success was achieved in building recognition of trafficking, culminating in a law change which made it a criminal offence to have paid-for sex with a woman known by the punter to have been trafficked– the Policing and Crime Act 2009.
Working with other feminist organisations, OBJECT’s ‘Stripping the Illusion’ campaign raised awareness resulting in a law change on lap-dancing clubs. Object objected to the proposal to allow lap-dancing clubs to set up without licensing and successfully campaigned to get a law adopted which forced them to obtain a licence from the local Council, who have to consult the public locally as of 2010.
OBJECT’s researched and made public on its website lots of information on the nastier side of lap-dancing which local campaigners successfully used all over the country to prevent clubs from opening.
03. Lad's Mags
OBJECT successfully campaigned to get supermarkets to shrink-wrap the so-called ‘Lads’ Mags’ because the content was so pornographic, sexist and objectifying to women. One study showed that the attitudes of men who read ‘Lads’ Mags’ could not be distinguished from those of convicted rapists. When Tesco banned people in pyjamas from shopping there yet continued to stock ‘Lads’ Mags’, OBJECT activists protested that ‘Porn is much worse than pyjamas’ by dancing the conga round Tesco wearing pyjamas, singing.
OBJECT’s ‘Feminist Fridays’ from 2009 regularly targeted sexist institutions from supermarkets to porn producers, getting more and more women and men involved in taking action to change our sexist environment. OBJECT often targeted branches of WH Smith, a major purveyor of porn which was quick to portray itself as a ‘family newsagent’.
OBJECT activists protested at the X-Biz pornography industry summit in September 2011, dressed as butchers to illustrate how porn treats women as pieces of meat.
Together with other feminist activists, OBJECT demonstrated outside the Miss World Finals in November 2011 and were delighted to find among their number the three women who first made headlines with their ‘bags of flour’ protest back in 1970. We joined them in a few choruses of ‘We’re not ugly, we’re not beautiful, we’re angry!’
OBJECT members in conjunction with the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign protested outside The Sun’s Wapping headquarters about the Sun’s practice, now discontinued, of showing a topless woman on the pages of its publication each day.
“The demise of lads' mags and the rise of feminism”
THE INDEPENDENT | Hannah Pool 4/7/17
OBJECT was perhaps a victim of its own success. Operating at first from the archetypal kitchen table, over time it obtained grants, took on new staff and rented an office. The founder left to spend more time with her family. As with many organisations, OBJECT then somehow perhaps started to lose its hard-hitting edge. Registered as a company, it went ‘off piste’, ignored its own constitution document and failed to submit accounts. The people in charge during this period are no longer involved, and certain matters are in the hands of the police. In June 2015 members were told by the then directors that the organisation was insolvent and had to close.
In June 2016 all traceable members were invited to a meeting. A motion of no confidence in previous management was passed, new directors were appointed and efforts began to reinstate OBJECT.
As of 2018 OBJECT is delighted to welcome Dr Sheila Jeffreys and Dr Heather Brunskell-Evans to its management board. We have also been pleased to enter into a partnership with feminist conference organiser Filia www.Filia.org.uk.
What is it doing now?
OBJECT has as always been busy campaigning.
WE have co-operated with Nordic Model Now in campaigning against the total decriminalisation of prostitution, speaking up against the ASLEF proposals at TUC Conference and other public meetings. We have been in continuing correspondence with the Public Policy Exchange which has marketed annual one-sided training events on prostitution for public service employees with no speakers for the Nordic Model or exit programmes. In 2016 we persuaded PPE to include Heather Harvey from Eaves, which works with exiting women. In 2017 we again applied pressure with sister organisations and got 2 speakers onto the panel, Heather Brunskell Evans and survivor Sabrinna Valisce who has worked in New Zealand and debunked the much-vaunted New Zealand model of decriminalisation.
OBJECT activists protested with other feminists at the London premier of the 50 Shades film, highlighting its sexist and harmful messages. We protested at the 2017 Porn Awards. We attended the 2017 University College London debate on pornography and spoke up against it.
Sex Encounter Venues (strip/lap dancing clubs)
Working with our sister organisation #NotBuyingIt, Object successfully campaigned against application by Red Rooms in London to install private booths at its strip club.
We contributed to the public debate about transgender by volunteering speakers and chairperson to the Glasgow meeting 'We Need To Talk About the Gender Recognition Act.