Monday, 13 February 2017

Stop talking about it?

The actor Morgan Freeman, when asked once about Black History Month, said that it was 'ridiculous', and maintained the way to get rid of racism is to 'stop talking about it.'

I'm getting a bit like that about sexism - at least as far as Western markets go. I don't deny that there is serious work to be done (and probably not by brands) to achieve gender equality in some parts of the world. But I wonder whether some of the recent (Dove/Always- esque) campaigns on this theme that I've seen create problems where maybe there aren't any.

Practically every female-orientated product that I buy these days seems to be promising to empower me in some way or another, whether I like it or not. And these are inevitably accompanied by campaigns of the sort above. Cue that melancholic keyboard, cue the cute little girls.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's a US issue. Somehow, growing up in the UK, where our best kings were queens, and living in Europe where female leaders are everyday, it just doesn't seem to be an acute problem. The campaign above, from BBDO and called Put Her on the Map is a public service campaign to get more US city streets and public landmarks named after women. The idea is: Let's inspire girls by celebrating inspiring women.'

Can't girls just get inspired by inspiring people? I know I was.

Maybe I am cynical, but I wonder if all this 'female empowerment' marketing is simply lazy. And, more worrying, whether it's the same old marketing trick: creating needs and problems in people's minds (in this case young girls') that aren't really there.

Yesterday it was stubborn stains, today it's gender equality.

(Written from Käthe-Kollwitz-Ring)


Barbara Fisher said...

I love the little girl saying she wants to be a Bloody Mary – now that would make a good street name!
Some bright spark on breakfast TV the other day was suggesting children’s toys should all be made in yellow (or it might have been grey?) I stopped listening at that point. Anyway, his argument was children’s toys should all be made in a non gender-specific colour! In my experience, children are really not interested in the colour of a toy they just know they want it, or they don’t, and it could be sky blue pink for all they care. Honestly, the world has gone utterly mad! Don’t we have enough things to worry about without making more up?

Sue Imgrund said...

Yes, indeed.

I think the marketing people (self not included, of course!) have been to blame for creating some of these 'issues' - I am sure you have seen all the hoo-hah about girls' books and boys' books. It is all getting ridiculous.