Name: Dr Sasha Rakoff
What she does: Founder of OBJECT – a human rights organisation set up to challenge the sexual objectification of women
Impact: Has raised awareness of the realities of lap dancing and prostitution, changed the law so local people now have a say as to whether a lap dancing club can open and made it a crime to pay for sex with someone who has been trafficked or pimped
Nominated by: Clair Yates
Dr Sasha Rakoff founded OBJECT in 2003 because she saw an ever-accelerating culture of objectification: Lads’ mags were becoming increasingly popular, internet porn and lap dancing clubs were more and more mainstreamed. Despite the social effects of this culture, there was little or no public debate on these issues. Many individuals concerned by what they saw felt alienated and silenced.
The catalyst came when Sasha, whose background is in Science, was working in a Hospital and saw a small girl pick up a copy of the Sun and ask her parents why there was a picture of a naked women in the newspaper. Sasha knew something had to be done to quell the tide of ‘pornification’ in our society – a culture saturated by sexualised and one dimensional representation of women and girls, in a way which has little or no parallel for men or boys.
OBJECT are known for their bold campaigning – one of OBJECT’s first actions was to send a copy of the daily sport to every MP serving in the House of Commons. Campaign success’s mean that lap dancing clubs are no longer licensed as cafes, it is now a crime to pay for sex with someone who has been pimped, trafficked or otherwise coerced, sex industry jobs are no longer advertised in Job Centres and Supermarkets have pledged to put lads’ mags on the top shelf. OBJECTs current campaign calls for Page 3 and all newspaper porn to be seen as incompatible with a responsible media.