Femvertising Proves Advertisers Have Cottoned Onto Feminism: But Is That A Good Thing?

Yahoo Lifestyle

Femvertising - the art of using feminist tropes in adverts to sell things - is on the rise.

From Always' campaign Like A Girl to the Dove's Real Women adverts, 2014 was full of commercials that harnessed the power of the latest wave of feminism. But what does that mean for women?

Ads Aimed At Women

For one, it might mean that we start buying more stuff. Women are estimated to control 83 per cent of purchasing power, taking the lead on everything from cosmetics and groceries (you know, women's stuff) to cars and computers (yes, man stuff too).

But the majority of advertising over the past few decades has been directed towards men. And now advertisers have cottoned on to female empowerment as a theme we're sure to see more humorous, powerful women-led adverts. Which are aimed at getting us to buy even more stuff.

Great, 'cause our bank balances really need that.

Potty Mouth Princesses make a serious point (YouTube)

Social Media

But even if the companies making them are really only interesting in profits, there could be a useful side-effect of their jumping on the  bandwagon.

There's no denying feminism has enjoyed a recent surge, and social media has been at the forefront, giving women a place to speak out against everyday misogyny.

But part and parcel with that, it's revealed that though we've made hugh steps towards equality, there is still a bubbling, and frighteningly large, undercurrent of both agressive and unconcious sexism directed against women in the UK and worldwide.

#HeForShe, #EveryDaySexism, #YesAllWomen, #LeanIn and #ChangeTheRatio were all powerful trends that really took off on social media and adverts including Always' Like A Girl, Pantene's Not Sorry and Goldiebox' Anti-Princess campaigns have contributed to the way we think about woen and how we talk to and teach our children about gender equality.

How These Ads Could Help

So could these shiny, well-produced and highly visible adverts help the cause? Well, perhaps. By widening the visibility of smart, funny, eloquent women tackling sexism (albeit scripted), these ads could help take the fight off social media and put it in front of the people - male and female - who haven't given it a thought and who are perhaps unconciously contributing to the status quo.

As Sarah Wood, the co-founder and chief operating officer of the video marketing company Unruly explained to the Telegraph:

“Advertising often reflects the concerns, anxieties, dreams and aspirations of society.

“Right now in society, social media is laying bare the extent of hidden misogyny that affects women all round the world. There have been several incidents that have unfolded on social media this year, such as Jane Austen on the pound note, Gamergate and Emma Watson being trolled online.”

It's a bit of a catch-22. We don't want companies watering down or trampling on the message for their own gains, but the power of big money and visibility could be just what this wave of feminism needs to help it crush inequality and misogyny forever.

And with more and more women involved at higher levels of the companies that make them, we can hope that these companies manage to retain some integrity behind the need to move units.

[Everday Sexism: Do We Really Need Feminism In 2014?]
[Can You Have A Feminist Wedding?]