July 11, 2011
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing on behalf of the Woman Abuse Working Group (WAWG) of Hamilton, Ontario to express serious objection to your offensive beer advertisements.
WAWG is a coalition of 24 community agencies and is the Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee for the City of Hamilton. We have been in existence since 1993; our goal is to eradicate all forms of violence, abuse and oppression against women and their children.
The billboards that offer ‘a free girl with every can’, as well as the slogan ‘6 big cans in every box’, featuring women’s breasts, send out the message to our communities that women can be bought and sold as commodities, that they are mere sexual objects to be consumed. Furthermore, the ads do not refer to women, but to ‘girls’, who are female children and adolescents.
In a world where violence against women and girls is rampant (1 in 4 Canadian women will experience abuse during their lifetime) and where human trafficking is a global problem with serious consequences for all of us, these ads are socially irresponsible and dangerous. The links between alcohol and sexual assault are well documented – alcohol is by far the most prevalent rape drug. The explicit messaging in this campaign reinforces rape myths and negligent attitudes towards women and girls.
We implore you to remove these sexist advertisements that perpetuate violence against women and girls and to replace them with a more responsible advertising campaign that does not objectify or reduce women or female children to public commodities and sexual objects.
WAWG will also be sharing our concerns with the Consumer Response Council of Advertising Standards Canada.
We look forward to your response to our concerns.
Chair, Woman Abuse Working Group