By Kati Nalbandian, Chapter Member
By studying recent advertising campaigns, one can gather that the public is starting to embrace advertisements with a pro-women theme or message. Super Bowl advertisements are notorious for pleasing a mainstream idea of how men want to see women. In terms of women-positive advertising, this year’s Super Bowl XLIX had some groundbreaking ads steal the spotlight, while others stuck to the unfortunate and routine sexualization of women. However, marketing or communicating to women is key for the success of many companies in today’s market (not to mention the economy overall), since women are consumers just as much as men are. Dove, Always (#LikeAGirl), and Pantene are a few brands that are pro-women, and have finally taken initiative to change the representation of women in the media while also advertising their product. Other brands which offer less gender specific products, such as Verizon, have joined the “Femvertising” movement as well.
With the word “Feminism” putting everyone on the edge of their seats, especially TIME magazine claiming that the word should be banned in 2015, it is shocking to see so many companies joining this movement with energy. While my openly feminist self would claim “it’s about time!” others would claim that it’s unnecessary for brands to do this in order to make larger profits.
Nina Bahadur, author of the Huffington Post article “‘Femvertising’
Ads Are Empowering Women—And Making Money For Brands” writes that SheKnows.com poll concluded that
“51 percent of women polled like pro-female ads because they believe they break down gender-equality barriers, and 71 percent of respondents think brands should be responsible for using advertising to promote positive messages to women and girls. The survey also showed that femvertising pays off for brands — 52 percent of women polled had purchased a product because they liked the way the ads portrayed women”
These brands are beginning the change we need to see. Changing the messages in the media we consume every single day in turn will change our society.
As Communications professionals, we need to follow by example of these types of campaigns. They are simple steps in changing the grounds of our society. This “new wave” of feminism could be one of the greatest with the accessibility to media via the internet. For now, we show the public that women are more than boobs eating a cheeseburger (shocking!). Once the media digests that, no pun intended, I swear, we can continue to open the eyes of media consumers globally. Intersectionality? Trans-inclusiveness? I think that if we can commit to one thing in the field, it should be to push for campaigns that depict strong women and the people who the media tends to ignore. If we can break stereotypes, fight Photoshop and promote healthier people we can help create a healthier society.
This isn’t just limited to female communications professionals. Perhaps a man could sit down at a new job and suggest a campaign like this. Would he even be taken seriously? The fact that we have to second guess it at all is why this trend must continue. This is just the beginning.