Advertisers must convince young women that they are in need of constant improvement without threatening young women’s views of themselves as intelligent, self-directed, and equal. Buzz words like “empowerment,” “self-determination,” and “independence” are sprinkled liberally across their pages. But this seemingly progressive rhetoric is used to sell products and ideas that keep girls doing gender in appropriately feminine ways, leading them to reproduce, rather than challenge, gender hierarchies. An ad for a depilatory cream, for instance, tells girls that they are “unique, determined, and unstoppable,” so they should not “settle… for sandpaper skin.” Feminist demands for political and economic equality—and the refusal to settle for low-wages, violence, and second-class citizenship—morph into a refusal to settle for less than silky skin. Pseudo-feminist language allows young women to believe that they can “empower” themselves at the checkout counter by buying the accoutrements of traditional femininity.
- Amanda M. Gengler, ‘Selling Feminism, Consuming Femininity’
In honor of Women’s History Month, Union High School teacher Nicholas Ferroni wanted to teach his students — and people all over the world — about the history of the advertising industry’s blatant sexism.
So Ferroni teamed up with 2010 Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford, who made headlines after revealing she was told Donald Trump didn’t like black people, to recreate sexist vintage ads. This time, however, the gender roles were flipped. Read more. (3/15/2017 2:15 PM)