It seems that feminist-washing is a new thing for big
bad brands. It makes me very, very uncomfortable when it’s the beauty industry using feminist themes to sell cosmetic products, like Dove promoting “real beauty” (Dove is going to rescue you from a negative body image, but only if you buy more Dove) and, more recently Pantene (boo boo double standards, but you’ll get through it with beautiful hair). You don’t need to have read Naomi Wolf’s Beauty Myth to understand how hypocrite this is. On the other hand, because big money + TV, these commercials are sadly potentially much more powerful in changing minds than most underfinanced honest feminist campaigns.
That’s probably why I’m much less critical about the Verizon spot showing how stereotypes and gendered education keep girls away from science and engineering :
It’s smart and powerful, and does a very good job at pointing out how girls are gradually led to base their own value on how they look and how ‘well’ they behave (or maybe I am extrapolating?). Now Cynical-Me would like to know what’s the gender balance among Verizon’s engineers and if their internal and recruitment policies fit their egalitarian message… But I’m such a kill-joy.
More broadly : Can big companies take part in fights for social justice? You have 4 hours.
There’s also the recent Always ad about what it means to do things “Like a girl” : gngngngnnnnn not too bad… And menstrual pads are not really a beauty product, are they? Too bad
big bad Procter and Gamble also owns Axe, which commercials are notably sexist.