Heads up I am not a marketing expert! But I had noticed the abundance of “feminism” being used in advertising lately. The article linked is brilliant at grouping the different type of “feminism” used in recent advertising. Having seen some of the adverts featured in this article I wondered whether this is feminism in action at all and if it is, does it work?
In terms of whether this is feminism or not, it feels like a patronising, empty shell of a version of feminism really. It isn’t designed to raise awareness or empower women in the right way (i.e. by making them see they are equal to men socially, politically and economically) much of it seeks to break them down or compare them to other people and then eventually asks them to see that it is OK to “be yourself”. As explained in the article linked above it is a pretty lazy attempt. Perhaps watered down feminism for a broad audience?
This article from Forbes raises some points made by people who were “outraged” by the Dove ad. Interestingly they particularly mentioned people’s annoyance as the ad having depicted these women as stupid as none of them expressed annoyance at having been duped. However while that may be the case, I do take issue with this article as the author makes it sound as though Dove were faced with using this ad or it’s only other option would have been to use stick thin models which would have annoyed people even more Again, no expert here but I’m pretty sure those aren’t their only options.
I wonder whether these companies make any claims to be feminist anyway? Seeing as it’s a “controversial” label to give something and plenty of people shy away from it. I would guess that they wouldn’t want to be associated with it in case their customers think they’re getting political or radical in any way. Personally I have always seen feminism as a spectrum, some people are radical, others aren’t so surely these companies stood no chance in pleasing this group anyway? As the Forbes article points out, there is no way of us knowing whether Dove actually cares about women’s self esteem or not…
I recently saw the Dove “beauty patch” advert at the cinema and I saw what was coming a mile off. My main reaction was; “DO THEY SERIOUSLY EXPECT US TO SWALLOW THIS MUSHY RUBBISH?” I suppose if they continue to have good sales as a result of these adverts then it has worked, right?
I wonder whether, perhaps some kind of feminism in advertising is better than none at all? These adverts are intended to try and make women feel as though they are worth something or valued as customers. I think I would be more interested to see how many women these companies have on their board of directors or whether their wages match their male counter parts… but then maybe that’s what this is: a distraction?
It would be great to know what some of my followers think about this? Is it even worth debating? Isn’t it just advertisers trying a new angle? Everyone is a critic. I would love to see social media spark a parody of these adverts. Come on youtube!