How feminist marketing benefits the movement

Tessa Galeazzi, Assistant Web Manager

The rise of the feminist movement has increased not only awareness but also the stakes of advertising. It’s becoming harder to tell what’s real and what’s fake, as feminist-centered advertising is getting more popular. It doesn’t matter what product companies are selling; it’s the message that’s sure to spread to audiences anywhere from Facebook to Youtube.

Feminist marketed ads certainly raise awareness and acknowledgment of discrimination, and there are positive-lasting effects of this type of advertising.

These ads can be rather emotional and personal, as they usually are about personal experiences and prejudices. But after watching two or three in a row, they seem very repetitive. They all follow the same general format: Oh, you believed in this stereotypical assumption about girls? Well, we’re proving you wrong! 

It’s a powerful formula that’s managed to work for advertising campaigns for brands like Dove and Always. I believe that feminist marketing is very appropriate as it advertises women’s hygiene products. It’s not out of place to use an advertising campaign with the theme of feminism. 

In Nike Russia’s campaign “What are girls made of?” Kathryn Addo says, “In Russia, Turkey and the Middle East, women face a range of sport barriers. Between gender discrimination, living up to cultural traditions and societal expectations, sport is considered more of a distraction than anything,” in an interview with Adfreak. Nike actually has a mission with their campaign. It’s not just empowering words written to encourage people to buy their products. Nike challenges the traditional views of gender roles in these places and encourage women to overcome barriers. Of course, it is a form of advertising and they mean to sell products, but their products have a lasting effect on societal and cultural norms in these places by encouraging girls to be active and defying expectations by doing so.

“We’re instinctively attuned to understanding a large range of diverse cultures and contexts, and we channel that instinct and curiosity into our strategic and creative processes. This cultural diversity allows us to produce impactful local market work and bring fresh ideas to the table that challenge and respect traditions.” Addo says.

This is seen clearly in Nike’s products like their Nike Pro Hijab, which both challenges and respects tradition.

This isn’t only evident in Nike’s marketing. The razor brand Billie started their campaign “Project Body Hair” as an effort to normalize and celebrate female body hair. It might seem hypocritical for a razor company to advertise the celebration of hair but statements on their website best explain it. “Errr… don’t you sell razors? Why yes, we do. We designed really great razors at an affordable price. Because women who like shaving had been overpaying for razors for far too long (did someone say, ‘pink tax?’).”

These companies actively use feminism in their decisions as a company by combatting the pink tax and they don’t limit their ideas to a few ads. By following the leads of these companies, we can not only raise awareness to the feminist movement in advertisements, but hopefully make a long lasting difference.

Nowadays, the line has grown thin between capitalism and feminism as ads water down a movement with meaning and use it to their advantage. Thankfully, companies like Nike and Billie that bring meaning and awareness with their feminist marketing can genuinely make a difference.