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 - 2104
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
Why did OBJECT fade from public view?
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; the CEO had found another job. No evidence was provided, no financial statement was made, and in fact this proved to be somewhat misleading. A group of former members formed to see what could be done to save OBJECT.
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 retrieve the entire contents of the office, passwords to email accounts, website and social media access etc, all of which had been physically removed to her home by the former Chief Executive who retains them. Without these vital pieces of information, we were unable to get in touch with members or funders. It was only after the police and the Fraud Department at Companies House became involved that we were able to register new directors, and only after that laborious process was complete could we get access to see what had been happening to the bank account, where significant sums had been withdrawn without any accountability.
In the interim period, OBJECT members have womanfully carried on campaigning – protesting at the new ’50 Shades’ film, proposing a motion at Amnesty UK’s conference in April 2017 to change its policy on decriminalising the sex trade, and putting pressure on retailers not to display porn at child’s eye level.
OBJECT is now restarting its campaigns and activism and we hope you will join and get involved.
What is it doing now?
OBJECT has been campaigning quietly since restarting in 2016. It has co-operated with Nordic Model Now in campaigning against the total decriminalisation of prostitution. OBJECT activists joined in protested with other feminists at the premier of the latest 50 Shades film, protesting its sexist and harmful messages.
I used to be a member of OBJECT, what happened to the money I donated?
We now have copies of recent bank statements for OBJECT. If you were a donor, please email us stating the amount and method of your donation and if we can identify you we will be happy to provide you with more information.