British TV show, This Morning, features pornography and sexually harasses Holly Willoughby on Live TV

At the Campaign Against Sex Robots we have warned about the creeping normalisation of sex dolls, and our warning was proven true on This Morning, a British daytime TV show that thought it would be amusing to feature a sex doll in the form of a woman. The show on ITV displayed a sex doll and the male presenter, Philip Schofield thought it amusing to compare the sex doll to his female presenter Holly Willoughby.

There are so many things wrong with this feature. Where to start?

Firstly, sex dolls are fetish items – that means they are primarily consumed by males who cannot or will not participate in mutual relationships with women. They are bought on fetish websites, and featured at Adult Expos, such as this one in Las Vegas in 2018. As fetish items they rely on the most extreme form of sexual objectification of women to exist – that women are reducible to holes for male penetration.

I feel for Holly Willoughby. What must it be like for her to sit next to her co-presenter, someone of equal standing and have him compare her to a doll?

Secondly, there is a dangerous myth that sex dolls can ease loneliness. The segment was related to a bogus claim made by businesswoman Jade Stanley from Worcestershire, a town in England that is profiting from female sexual objectification. Sex dolls can no more help loneliness than a vibrator. This is a lie peddled by the fetish doll and sex robot companies to sell their products. They want us to think of them as helpful rather than harmful, and capable of solving a problem. Loneliness comes from lack of human relationship and cannot be addressed with dolls and robots. Loneliness is an internal feeling of emptiness due to lack of connectivity with other people. In fact, by promoting this lie, This Morning is effectively normalising a sexist fetish as a service to the community. What is worse, this lie is producing a culture where attachment disorders (the failure to make healthy relationships) is becoming normalised.  Make no mistake, these dolls are overwhelmingly bought by men, and marketed to them. Stanley and others know this is not a female issue.  Finally, there was no counter argument presented on the show.

a sexist culture permits men to see women and girls as subhuman, as penetrable holes and not human beings.

Thirdly, a sex doll is 3D pornography. As This Morning is a morning show, with the majority of viewers women, they effectively insulted female viewers by reducing their humanity to a sex doll. As the show is often watched by families over the course of the morning time, with young children nearby, This Morning effectively introduced fetish pornography to children.

Finally, I feel for Holly Willoughby. What must it be like for her to sit next to her co-presenter, someone of equal standing and have him compare her to a doll? She says sheepishly ‘are you going to replace me’ because women have to go along with their sexual objectification. If they don’t, they will be punished for lacking a sense of humour, or being a prude. Willoughby was sexually harassed live on TV, in front of TV viewers for some cheap entertainment.

Women experience sexual violence and objectification on a daily basis. It often starts as young as 8 or 9 and impacts on women throughout their life. It comes in the form of child abuse and sexting, exposure to pornography, domestic violence, strangulation, rape, upskirting, stalking, surveillance and revenge porn. Women are murdered at a rate of 2 per week largely by ex or current partners. This happens because a sexist culture permits men to see women and girls as subhuman, as penetrable holes and not human beings.

This is not good enough. We need to contact This Morning and Ofcom with the following demands:

  1. We do not want to see 3D pornography on day time TV. In fact, this broke Ofcom’s rules about showing pornography on TV. We know what these objects are for, there is no ‘relationship’ taking place between a man and a sex doll. This is a harmful fetish.
  2. Holly Willoughby was sexually harassed live on TV, put alongside pornography and made to go along with her sexual objectification. There needs to be an investigation into this and a full apology to Willoughby.
  3. Women are the main viewers of this show. This is not the first time they’ve featured 3D porn dolls. Therefore, an apology to the female viewers should be made.

Here is an example of a letter you can send to This Morning and Ofcom

Write to This Morning

EMAIL: thismorning@itv.com

PHONE: 08000 30 40 44

And write to your politics representative. We have prepared a template letter here you can modify and send to your political representative. Sex dolls are paving the way for sex robots and this is why they need to be stopped now. Women and male allies need to speak up.

Write to Ofcom

Women are not property, nor are we reducible to dolls and robots.