Feminism is the New Sex
Feminism is the New Sex
By Nasima A
Sex sells, from perfume to jeans, provocative marketing has been around for decades. The constant objectification of people, particularly cis-women, isn’t cutting it anymore in today’s ‘woke’ society. So it’s time to try something new. Feminism.
Feminism is the new sex so it seems. The term used to be regarded as insulting, but social media has since then helped open up discussions and de-myth what people thought feminism was all about. There is a struggle for brands who try to be as human as possible but, convey a gendered tone when they are addressing their audiences. Male advertisements are often fast paced, toned down in colour and very hyper masculine, whereas adverts directed at cis-women tend to be full of sunshine and laughter - think tampons and yoghurt, why is everyone so cheery? And who is to say that the same sex we've been seeing in all these commercials cannot have feminist tones of reclaiming sexuality and femme bodies? These ads suffer from an idea that embracing sexuality does not equal feminism.
Diet Coke did a campaign featuring the same kind of gendered tone which didn’t go down well. For this campaign, they created an archetype referred to as ‘Impulsista’ (impulse+sister) –she goes with her gut and to regret nothing! *punches fist into the air sarcastically*. Not only is this a tool to reach feminists in their pocket but, the use of the 'a' instead of 'er' at the end of 'sista' uses African-American Vernacular English as another ploy to sell this product, perhaps they were trying to reach a broader audience, perhaps they were trying to sound hip, all in all they were appropriating in the process. Other campaigns such as ‘Like a Girl’ sets out to crush stereotypes, portraying women as more than capable as men without the cheesy music and flirty smiles that was prominent in the Diet Coke campaign. However, both campaigns pushed a pro feminist ideology, but it’s arguable that this is actually quite patronising and puts femmes into yet another box. Not every woman wants to, or can, be loud, assertive and dominant like in these feminist adverts, and so these messages do more harm than good when women start to feel pressured to live up to such qualities. And rarely, do you ever see these ads ran inclusively for all genders and femme identifying people as a whole.
This is why there is such a need for more femmes the media industry; according to Campaign Live, only 12% of creative directors are female (in the UK) – having something created by femmes, about femmes, for femms, makes an incredible difference. Take the Wonder Woman movie, for example. Director, Patty Jenkins not only proved that women can make kick ass movies but her portrayal of the lead character was praised for shattering the male gaze (see: thigh jiggle). More femmes in media will help contribute to a fairer representation and better produced content. There is a need for conversations to be had about this issue so that more awareness can be given and how to combat stereotypes in media. Feminism shouldn’t be attractive, it should be about equality and promoting better representation for all genders. This is now a chance for you, (reader who may have thought about getting into media) if you feel as though this is for you and, these are the road blocks you want to tackle, now is your time. We need you.