Melinda Tankard Reist

Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane

Masterclass ‘Eyes Wide open’ expert presenter and panellist

Friday workshops


Melinda Tankard Reist is a Canberra author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for women and girls. Her third book is Getting Real: Challenging the S*xualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009), now in its fourth printing. Her new book, co-edited with Dr Abigail Bray, and due for release in September, is Big Por* Inc: Exposing the harms of the global p*rnography industry. It is also published by Spinifex Press.

Two years ago Melinda initiated a new grassroots campaigning movement, Collective Shout: for a world free of s*xploitation, to expose corporations, advertisers and marketers who objectify women and s*xualise girls to sell products andservices. Collective Shout has achieved significant wins against major companies in a short time.

Melinda is a regular guest on Channel 7’s Morning Show, and has also appeared on ABC Q&A and The Gruen Sessions as well as a variety of other TV and radio programs.  She is also a regular contributor to ABC The Drum Unleashed, and other on-line opinion sites.  Melinda is named in the Who’s Who of Australian Women and the World Who’s Who of Women. 


Hyper-s*xualised messages and images are entrenched in media, popular culture and the public space.  There is growing concern about the impact on young women especially of stereotyped and normative s*xualised representations of women and girls.  Young women are facing unprecedented social pressure to conform to an idealised body type in a culture which values women who are ‘thin, hot and s*xy’. Many authorities believe this is contributing to an environment which is increasingly harmful to girls, by presenting their value in terms of their looks and s*xual attractiveness.

Negative impacts on their health have been documented, with links made to eating disorders, depression, anxiety, self-harm, low-self-esteem and poor academic performance.


Young people’s lives are increasingly socialised, conditioned and informed by p*rnography with first exposure often to hardcore violent p*rnography. Seventy percent of boys have seen p*rnography by age 12, 100 percent by age 15. Girls are also viewing p*rnography at increasing rates: 53.5 percent of girls twelve and under have seen p*rnography, 97 percent by the age of 16. Girls are conditioned by p*rnography to see themselves primarily in terms of being providers of s*xual services. 

The proliferation and globalisation of s*xual imagery is contributing to a calloused view of s*xuality, stripped of connection and intimacy.

What is the impact? And what can we do to address it?