By Corinne Falotico
As we celebrated International Women’s Day last Sunday, we were given a grave reminder of just how far the world has to go to achieve gender equality. International Women’s Day tends to do that. Stories celebrating amazing women like Shirley Chisholm are often paired with not-so-amazing stats on gender equality. Stats like 1 in 3 women face violence globally, women make up just 22 percent of parliamentarians worldwide and African American women only make 64 percent of the white male dollar.
But the beauty of International Women’s Day is that it puts these bleak stats to the forefront and mobilizes organizations and people to change the reality. One unique way that organizations have been promoting change is through advertising. Advertising is no longer run by Donald Draper and the white, heterosexual men of Mad Men. Yes, sexist advertisements still exist at alarming levels, but recently there has been a rise in the complete opposite direction to “femvertising,” advertising that seeks to empower women. A great example of this new type of advertising is the Always “Like a Girl” commercial that premiered during this year’s SuperBowl.
Video: “Like a Girl”
The Clinton Global Initiative caused quite a stir in New York City on International Women’s Day when it erased women from well-known magazine covers, billboards and posters. This new “Not There” campaign that is a part of the No Ceilings Project brings awareness to the fact that the world has miles to go before achieving gender equality. As the slogan says, “We’re not there yet.”
Video: “We’re Not There Yet”
The British domestic violence awareness organization Women’s Aid also jumped on the femvertizing bandwagon by creating an interactive billboard in London. When you first look at the billboard, you see a woman with bruises and lacerations on her face. The image itself is powerful and remains stagnant when passers-by ignore it. But as you keep looking at it, you see the bruises start to fade. They fade more and more as more people look at the billboard. This interesting twist is made possible through facial recognition technology. Onlookers are captured on camera and their responses are projected on to the bottom of the billboard. Through Weve technology, the billboard also sends text messages to onlookers with links to donate.
Video: Women’s Aid
When non-profit organizations employ innovative advertising strategies, the result can be very effective. Femvertising is not only used for non-profits though, just look at the Always “Like a Girl” and Dove “Real Beauty” campaigns that empower women in order to sell a product by a major corporation. Nonetheless, femvertising and the effect it has on the public is a refreshing change in advertising from the horrifically sexist Carl’s Jr. and PETA ads. Who knew that Don Draper had the power to eradicate gender inequality?
Do you know any examples of femvertising? Share them and tell us what you think! #Femvertising
Image courtesy of Susan Rhodes
Corinne is a recent graduate from George Washington University. She’s not afraid to call herself a feminist and a stereotypical cat lady. She blogs at The Feminist Feline and loves eating pasta and cheese – preferable together.