Girls*, Not Objects: Youth Talk and Exhibition

Girls, Not Objects: Youth Talk and Exhibition

Opening quotes | Expert sharing | Youth talk | Photo exhibition | Stories | Social media

What is Girls, Not Objects?

On International Women’s Day 2020, UN Women Asia and the Pacific has launched an online campaign to discuss the objectification and cyberbullying issues in the entertainment industry in collaboration with IKIGAI and Mu Studio, funded by Korea International Cooperation Agency. Read more

Gender Inequality in the Media and Entertainment Industries

Sexual objectification is pervasive

The media and entertainment industries bombard us with images that exacerbate society’s objectification of women and young girls. They portray them as objects whose desirability depends on their physical appearance and sexuality. They create a stereotype of an ideal woman who is “pretty”, thin, voiceless and passive.

These industries show women and girls in stereotypical and limited roles. For example, popular movies usually portray men rather than women in “serious” roles such as attorneys, professors and doctors. They assign women with hypersexualized roles, and have them wear sensual attire or appear nude.

The effects are damaging

Women and girls who compare themselves to these ideals and stereotypes suffer from anxieties about their appearances, feelings of shame, eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. And other people influenced by the media and entertainment industries’ objectification, harass these women and girls with cyberbullying and other forms of harassment. A 2015 report by the United Nations Broadband Commission said that almost three-quarters of women online had been exposed to some form of cyber violence.

If nothing is done about the problem of objectification, women and young girls will continue to suffer every day.

A global study of female characters in popular films, released in 2014 and partly supported by UN Women, documented deep discrimination and stereotyping of women and girls.

Said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka:


Twenty years ago, 189 governments adopted the Beijing Platform for Action, the international roadmap for gender equality, which called on media to avoid stereotypical and degrading depictions of women. Two decades on, this study is a wake-up call that shows that the global film industry still has a long way to go. With their powerful influence on shaping the perceptions of large audiences, the media are a key player for the gender equality agenda. With influence comes responsibility. The industry cannot afford to wait another 20 years to make the right decisions.”

*”Girls” here is a reference to female idols. The derogatory term is used in entertainment business and by consumers in this sector.

Opening Quotes


Fast Facts

Fast Facts

Expert Sharing: An activist raises awareness

An activist raises awareness. Watch Jane’s video message of the objectification and cyberbullying issues in the Entertainment Industry.

Youth Talk: Let’s discuss the problem and solution

Girls Not Objects campaign says youths must take the lead in challenging social norms, objectification, and cyberbullying encouraged by the entertainment industry. With the funding of KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency), UN Women creates a virtual space where youth can discuss the issues of objectification and cyberbullying in the entertainment industry.

In two UN Women videos, Korean and Thai youths discuss how they can change the social norm. Korean youth panels talk about the problem and social impact of objectification and cyberbullying with the K-pop cases. Thai panels share their opinions on the topic of young people’s contribution to ending objectification and cyberbullying in the entertainment industry.

Youth Art: Students teach lessons through photos

Girls, Not Objects campaign includes a photo exhibition created by two student groups in Bangkok: IKIGAI, comprising students of the Music and Entertainment Business at Silpakorn University, and Mu Studio, comprising students of Communication Design at Chulalongkorn University. The exhibition aims to raise awareness, both among the general public and within the entertainment industry, of how objectification hurts young female entertainers and singers in Thailand. The exhibition was featured at a gallery in Bangkok last November.

Virtual Photo Exhibition “Girls, Not Objects”

01 VIVI: Because human value does not depend on how they look

Mother nature design and create humans to be different in every aspect from genetics, races, attitude and physical appearances. Within each era, human appearances are always defined by pop culture, of certain preference of the people at the time. These ‘pop culture’ seep unconsciously into the mind of the masses, installing the idea of how a ‘perfect woman’ should be thin, with her features resembling the mythical female characters of traditional literature. The idea is so common that we often forget that human value does not solely depend on one’s appearances.Vases are objects defined by their various shapes. In the context of this image, vases are used to represent people’s misunderstood attitude towards physical appearance. If we value human based entirely on how they look rather than what truly lies inside her, it would be as we look at them the same way we look at vases. An object, devoided of life and soul. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

02 MUSIC: Don’t let others expectancy objectify us

Expectancy is a basic human emotion where we desire certain things to happen. Most of the time, motivation is the key foundation to expectancy. On one hand, human expectancy has led to many wondrous stories, allowing ideas and innovations to flourish and making our world a better place. But on the other hand, expectancy could become a double-edged sword if used wrongly. Expectancy, whether it be from other people or from within a person, often create pressure and extended into restraining oneself to fit other people’s expectancy. At worst, a person could abandon his or her identity, becoming an object to satisfy other. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

03 PAMPAM: Public target

We seems to use the word “Public figure” as a special status of an individual who has got the attention of the people. Society often views them as a person who had sacrificed their ordinary life for a one constantly watched by the media and other people. This allows people to criticize them with practically no limits. Their ordinary actions often became a big deal just because it was done by a so-called “public figure”. Where the truth is that they are not actually “a public figure” yet a person, a human being, same as us, and not objects for anyone to vent their emotions and criticisms on. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

04: TLE: Non-responsive = Non-Target

Cyberbullying has been developing alongside the advancement of technology since the coming of social network, increasing its intensity exponentially. There are many ways of coping with Cyberbullying, one of the best ways is to not respond to the bullying itself. Often the bully will be satisfied only when the target reacts emotionally. This means if we could remain conscious and choose not to react, we have already won over the bullying. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

05: NANOW & NOOKIIZ: Personal Space

Whether a public figure or not, everyone has their personal space. A safe space without intrusion from outsiders. Respecting other people’s personal space is an important aspect of living together in a society and invading one is a serious violation of personal rights. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

06 NUTCHY: Girl and justice

For the Cyber world, harassments are both severe and hard to track down the culprit. Often times, the justice system is unable to solve these harassment cases, leaving the victim to deal with the problem themselves even though the felt that the law should protect them from what they’ve been through. This raised the question for the society of how many times and how severe must the harassment be for the justice system to recognize it? Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

07 TONNAM: Slander

Slander and negative criticism happen to public figures all the time, whether it be in front or behind their back. Not all criticism is based on facts, with many times the critiques pass down their judgements without knowing the true reasons. The reason behind these criticisms is often rooted in personal satisfaction. These actions not only unbeneficial, but also harmful to the victims. Responding or presenting the truth seems to be the key, but in reality, not everyone had the choice to truthfully speak their mind. Career, responsibility or the status of an artist often prevent the victim from such unnecessary response. In some cases, the artists themselves could do nothing except to smile and endure the treatment as a public pin cushion. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

08 BAMBIE – “Woman’s worth”?

The idea that a good woman must be as neat as a folded sheet has their roots struck deep within the perception of Thai society that passed down from generation to generation, reaching today. With this idea still dominate many members of society, we often forget that human value could not be determined by their neatness and innocence according to the general perception in society. A person who does not fit within this traditional frame does not mean that they are any less human from others. True value shine through one’s attitude and action, rather than how they look. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

09 TANYA, NICE, THUNGNGERN: Don’t speak, don’t listen. Don’t know, don’t look

Ignorance is another reason why social problem still occurs. One of the many factors leading to these problems is the fact that they do not have any direct personal consequences. This prevents anyone from understanding the true importance of this issue. Objectification is one of the social problems that has always been ignored. If only we could open our eyes and see, open our ears and listen and open our mouth to speak, we could reduce the numbers of the so called “objects” and increase the number of “humans” in society. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

10 WAFER: Because we are more than just our bodies

Every human has their physical differences. These differences are the charm of being human. This, however, does not automatically give you the right to stare and judge a person by their physical appearances based on your personal preferences. Because the value of a person could not be determined by such a small part of their bodies. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

11 MAII: The speaker forgets, never the listener

Our negativities we release on others that rooted from our emotion, for our entertainment or simply a lack of restraint towards whether a normal person or a public figure might last longer than we thought. Even if we already forget or stop feeling guilty about it, in reality, it might never leave the memory of a person we speak of. Taking deep root and causing paranoia for the victim even though they have stepped out of the spot they have been traumatized. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

12 MULAN: Fragility of Communication

Communicating daily life stories to fan club is an inevitable fate of an artist. In any case, comments on a public figure is especially fragile. Like a balloon, floating in the air where it could collide and explode with any things. It could be said that harsh words and comments that make the artist worry about their self-expression might lead to the loss of identity. But if at one point, we realized that what we expressed is not wrong or causing anyone harm, there would be no need to concern ourselves with useless criticism that debilitates us. As if we finally let go of the balloon. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

13 CINCIN: Self

Market mechanism in entertainment industry creates a loop of competition which calls for artists to create a persona, different from their own self, as a uniqueness to create a memorable image with for fan club. While it’s good when the created persona aligned with the character of the artist, artists often feel uncomfortable when their persona is a complete opposite of who they are. This might also lead to artist’s identity crisis. How wonderful it would be if an artist could be who they really are. To express and create what truly reflects who they are, supported by fans who love and accepted them as they are. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio


We can’t deny that the problem of objectification in the entertainment industry, including idol industry, often comes from a particular group of fans who has inappropriate attitude of admiring artists. Market mechanism also unconsciously contribute to this problem. Artists might feel like a doll in a dollhouse, to be stared at, to be placed and arranged according to their purposes without any concern of how they fell. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

15 AUM: Freedom of expression is not a weapon

Nowadays, Freedom of expression on social media is very open. This openness led to many abuses, using this ‘freedom’ as a tool to violate other people’s rights, such as criticizing artist’s personal space or sexually1 harass them through posting and commenting on social media. Ultimately, the freedom of expression is a good thing and criticizing is a person’s right to express themselves. However, such criticisms must be express under the frame of respecting other people’s rights. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

16 LOOKMAI: Infestation

Objectification problems occur and causing effects on many aspects, spreading and covering area fast. In today's time, objectification happens at an increasing rate, so fast and common that people took them as the social norm. Like a disease, hidden and spread to other member of society without any of us noticing. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

17 NINE: Fragility of the Laws

Handcuffs are used to arrest criminals, made of strong and lasting material. But on the other hand, if made out of frail and weak material, the handcuffs will be useless against criminals. The same goes for laws which are made to protect the victim. If laws are made without firmness, it could turn into a passage for more criminals - leaving the victim in a state where they need to protect their own rights with great difficulty. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

18 ANNY: A sapling of hope

We can’t deny that objectification as a problem is rooted in many factors, with one of them being the fact that some fans who have a bad attitude towards the artists themselves. This is a reoccuring of old problems that people from idols and entertainment industry. Still, some believe that such problems could be fixed by speeches and understanding. Even though changing someone’s attitude is a difficult and time-consuming task, like growing a tree from barren rocks. Hope will be the best fertilizer and energy that would help people get to know and understand more about this matter. Photo: IKIGAI and Mu Studio

Lessons Learned from the Photo Exhibition

Top Stories and Related News

Social Media

Stand with Girls Not Objects Campaign using the hashtag #StopObjectification against objectification and cyberbullying culture. A social media package to kick start your advocacy is available here.

Spread the word about objectification and cyberbullying, and alert your community that women are faced with all kinds of sexist and disrespectful behaviours in public and private places on a daily basis.

Step 1. Download the #StopObjectification Social Media Action Package
Step 2. Choose one among three templates or do all!
Step 3. Tag your friends to take action using hashtag #StopObjectification

Bingo Game: Define your relationship with your favorite entertainer
+ Play bingo game and Post on social media

This or That Game: Change the perception on how we should view entertainer
+ Choose between the choice given in the template
+ Once finished, post them on the social media

Photo Message: Share your activist message to your favorite entertainer
+ Fit your favourite idol’s empowered photo with the template
+ Decorate the photo and Post on social media