sexism in marketing

buzzfeed.com
14 Reasons Why You Need To Be Watching "Baroness Von Sketch"
"It's a women's product. Of course there's butterflies."
By Kat Angus

1. When the cast satirized how women are treated by the media.

4. When they made sure women knew a product was made just for them.

6. When they imagined a future with only women in charge.

13. When they took their games very seriously.

medium.com
That Heineken Ad Isn’t Sweet; It’s Dangerous – Athena Talks – Medium
It’s supposed to be heartwarming. Strangers work together on a project and get to know one another, not knowing anything about each other’s…
By Mirah Curzer

This is the danger of the feel-good “let’s just talk to each other” approach. It’s just a more cuddly version of that horrible bothsidesism that equates being called a racist with actual racism as reasons for hurt and anger. Both sides are not the same. The transphobe who agrees to have a beer with the trans woman is sacrificing nothing. She, on the other hand, is giving up a certain amount of dignity by breaking bread with someone who thinks she shouldn’t have the right to exist. She’s risking her mental and physical safety, volunteering for the hard emotional labor of arguing for her right to be a person. And with ads like this, that labor is being demanded of her with no consideration of how much it may cost. Worse, it’s heavily implied that if she were to walk away, it would make her just as intolerant as the bigot who views her with disgust.

Justice for All 

Hand embroidery on calico, approx 15 cm

“This first piece entitled Justice For All represents something which is very close to my heart, social justice and equality for all people oppressed by the societies we live in which harbour racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism. I am an intersectional feminist, and this means critically thinking about how various forms of oppression overlap, and actively working towards breaking down barriers and changing behaviour which contributes to these systems of oppression. Protesting, creating new media, taking ownership of ourselves and uplifting fellow babes are all ways we can change the world we live in. This piece is a combination of things I believe in to my core and ways I nurture myself. Feminism is about having choice.” - @hanecdote

Reasons it’s sucks that female characters don’t get action figures

Today I was cosplaying as Mara Jade and I ran into this little girl who was really excited by the costume because she loves Mara. I was curious how someone her age came to be a Mara fan, since she seemed a bit young to have read any of the books she’s in.

And she told me. Last year, she found the Black Series Mara Jade action figure and thought she looked pretty cool. She asked her dad who this was, and he said I don’t know, let’s do some research. So they went and they read about Mara Jade and now she has a new character she loves.

If the figures aren’t on the shelves, this can’t happen. Kids miss out on discovering characters they might love because there’s no figure for them to look at and say “Hey, she looks cool, I’m going to find out who she is.”

THE OPPOSITTE OF EQUALITY

What if men were portrayed & objectified the same way women are in the Action Sports industry?

This does not intend at all to objectify men instead, it’s just a wake-up call on how ridiculous it looks when men are portrayed the way women are in the scene. Time to take action!

ATTENTION TUMBLR

I swear to fuck, staff, whatever godawful sexist datatrawling you and yahoo have cooked up to suddenly put this bullshit: 

front and centre on my dash needs to fucking stop, OK?

I mean, if I wanted a company to assume I give a shit about laundry detergent because their data says I’m female with a kid, then I’d stay the fuck on Facebook while sipping a cheeky chardonnay liberally seasoned with tears of despair, on account of how I’d be dead inside.

You wanna advertise shit on tumblr? Maybe take a goddamn trawl through the kinds of products your userbase is already reblogging and recommending enthusiastically and which aren’t typically advertised elsewhere, like FtM underwear and geeky gadets and Mountain Lodge candles or whatever, and try to lock that shit down instead, maybe by, oh, I don’t know, forming innovative partnerships with the many small businesses now flourishing as part of the digital craft economy and utilising what makes tumblr a unique marketplace for such items to turn a profit rather than just shilling us the same ugly crap we’re getting everywhere else.   

Just a thought. You’re welcome.   

Look at this. Look at this shit. When people say sexism isn’t a problem anymore I want to angrily direct them at supermarkets, advertising, products etc. These two are the exact fffucking same deodorant and the one that’s directed at men has to be straight, black/red and have MEN branded nice and clear at the front. The one for women is actually implying what shape a woman’s body should be. This aerosol can needs an hourglass figure. Lights colours, delicate, smooth shapes. This is just messed up.

vimeo

Extremely powerful message, worth the watch

Facing a future where women are still paid 23% less than men for the same work, and where 1 in 5 women are raped or sexually assaulted in gender-based violence, little girls between 6 and 13 years-old dressed as pretty pink princesses drop F-bombs to draw attention to society’s continued sexism. Asking the question, “What’s more offensive? A little girl saying f*ck or the sexist way society treats girls and women”

Captain Phasma and sexism in Star Wars Marketing

So I was thinking about Captain Phasma, the Stormtrooper played by Gwendoline Christie in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and how she’s been treated in the marketing of merchandise for the film.

Everyone probably knows about the #WheresRey? following by now, if you don’t then all you need to know is that it’s people questioning the lack of Rey merchandise despite her being a leading role in the film. But while Captain Phasma has not been hit as bad as Rey with her lack of merchandising, possibly thanks to her villain status and Stormtrooper appearance, I came across something else in regards to how Disney and Rubie’s are treating her.

There are a few Captain Phasma costumes for children, two of them are seen above. The one on the left is made by Disney and is marked as being for girls and the one on the right is made by Rubie’s and is marked as unisex, appearing both when searching for “boys” and “girls” on stores like Amazon and the like. Well that’s all good. But what about the adult ones?

Well, above you see the adult costume by Rubie’s, the only official Captain Phasma costume available for adults. However, this one will not show up as unisex, nor will it show up under “womens” costumes at all.

This costume is specifically marked as being only for men.

This confused me, because not only is Captain Phasma a female character, but surely that costume should function fine for both (cis-normative) body types in this case. Why would it only be made for men? Rubie’s have an adult Rey costume for women after all, so it’s no like they don’t produce women’s costumes.

The answer is probably obvious. It’s because Captain Phasma is not “sexy” enough. Don’t believe me? Well, you probably do, but I’m going to prove it anyway.

After this I figured it might be Amazon that just didn’t have things listed properly, so I began searching around on other stores only to find the same results. But I began finding more and more Star Wars costumes for women. And while this next example is a bit of an extreme, the fact that it was the first villain related costumes I found should speak for something.

So yeah, these were the first Darth Vader and Stormtrooper costumes I found labled as “for women”.

But hey, this was clearly from a sexualized line of products, maybe I was being unfair. So I went looking at Rubie’s costumes again, and I managed to find a female Stormtrooper costume as well as a female Boba Fett and Darth Vader.

Here’s said women’s costumes compared to their men’s costume counterparts. Note how all the women’s costume need to have the character unmasked in the PR image as weel as having the costume itself be skin-tight. But perhaps most importantly, they need to be wearing high heels. A female Stormtrooper, Boba Fett or Darth Vader must clearly be wearing high heels.

I guess that’s why we can’t have a costume of Captain Phasma for women, because she’s not wearing skintight clothing and she has no high heels. Though it’s worth noting that at least Sabine Wren from Star Wars: Rebels have been luckier.

If you’re a woman you better present as sexy and if you don’t then you might as well just have your costume be made for men. And yet there are still people pretending that modern day Star Wars has an anti-male agenda.

Update - January 3rd 2016:

I felt like I needed to mention this to further illustrate my point. The magazine Cosplay Culture announced their Star Wars special issue with LeeAnna Vamp as their cover girl, which of course meant that yet again “women + star wars costumes” became even more synonymous with “sexualized armor”.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a sexual cosplay, but it just rings so true to what I mentioned above. A girl can’t be Boba Fett or a Stormtrooper unless you’re meant to feel sexually attracted to them.

youtube

CW: Eating disorders and body-shaming

In this Subway commercial, we have three coworkers, two female and one male. One of the women asks how her companions could be eating burgers. The other woman replies that it’s no longer summer, so they can eat what they want. First woman informs them that no, they must continue to try to keep their weight low because Halloween demands tons of “sexy” costumes from women. 

There are two different ideas at play here, and they intersect in interesting ways. 

  1. In order to wear sexy costumes, you must be a certain size or weight. 

  2. It’s Halloween, and for women, costumes must be sexy. 

Let’s start with the first one. 

In advertising, we already have lots of seasonal campaigns that capitalize on the idea that you must lose weight for certain periods of time. Around New Year’s Eve, food and diet companies hit hard on New Year’s Resolutions. A few months later, commercials encourage you to diet in order to get a “bikini body” in time for summer. The only time corporations want you to eat without reservations is Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, apparently, and probably only because they know it’s better for you to eat and feel guilty, then flock to their products, then to try to stop you from enjoying the holidays and the food traditions that go with it. 

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In a way, it’s kind of brilliant to take advantage of women’s insecurities by extending the seasons in which we need to diet. And by brilliant, I mean completely nefarious. But there’s one important message that is being conveyed by this commercial: only certain types of bodies can wear “sexy” outfits, like bikinis and “sexy” Halloween costumes. And that type of body is thin. 

When you tell your audience that they must be thin to wear sexy costumes, you are shaming larger bodies. You are saying that large women (and other genders) cannot be sexy simply because they are large. 

Of course, this isn’t a new idea. The media has been pushing this message on audiences for years, whether it’s by labeling average-sized models as “plus-sized,” or by photoshopping slices off of model and celebrity bodies in magazines, or by having most of mainstream Hollywood look a certain size (while relegating larger actors to tropes revolving around their weight). 

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New or not, the same phenomenon happens: we begin to believe that fat bodies are never attractive, which eventually evolves to fat bodies do not deserve to be attractive. This comes from the idea that larger people are only the size they are because they are lazy or undisciplined …. which diet advertisements definitely contribute to. After all, if you had only eaten Subway sandwiches instead of whatever wrong food you ate, you’d be skinny, right? 

The truth is, size does not determine attractiveness, or worthiness of attractiveness. Size definitely doesn’t determine if someone is lazy or undisciplined or unhealthy.

And you absolutely do not have to be a certain size in order to wear a Halloween costume (or bikini). If a large woman wants to dress as a “foxy fullback,” she has every right to.

Moving on to point #2.

Recent years have given way to another ludicrous phenomenon: the sexy Halloween costumes.

It’s not just that there are more sexy Halloween costumes. It’s that every regular costume has a ridiculous “sexy” pairing; the “regular” ones are usually marketed for men while the “sexy” ones are targeted at women.

Sexy Scooby-Doo

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Sexy Bacon

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Sexy Lumberjack

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And it starts younger and younger, and suddenly skeleton costumes are no longer gender neutral for boys and girls, but needs to be feminized and sexualized:

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For more examples of sexist Halloween costumes, check out this Tumblr

There’s nothing wrong with having sexy versions of Halloween costumes. For many individual women, it can be a chance to show creativity, have a unique costume idea, and even experiment a little with their sexuality in a way that they feel comfortable. It may be that many women use Halloween as a time to help them feel sexy, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The wrong part happens when costumes aren’t marketed as “regular” and “sexy,” but as “male” and female.” The wrong part happens when it’s difficult for women to find Halloween costumes that are made for them but not sexy. And it’s absolutely wrong to start sexualizing Halloween costumes for children. With this commercial, Subway is contributing to the idea that Halloween is a time when women must dress provocatively, that instead of dressing up in costumes that are fun, creative, or spooky, they should be dressing in a way that makes them appealing to men. That point is emphasized by the joke at the end of the commercial, in which the sole man dresses up as a Viking to go along with the woman’s Viking Princess Costume, and he requests to see her wear that one again.

These two arguments might seem kind of confusing. First I’m saying that women of all body types should be able to wear sexy outfits if they want to, then I’m saying it’s wrong for Subway to push sexy outfits on women. Here’s the bottom line: all women (and men) should dress the way they want to without feeling outside pressures, such as advertisements, telling them how to dress. If they want to dress sexy, they should be able to without feeling shame. And if they don’t want to, they should also be able to without feeling shame!

No matter what your size or Halloween costume sexiness levels, have a happy and safe Halloween!  

How not to market your books

So about 2 weeks ago, Jack Eason wrote a vitriolic and misogynistic review on an all female sci-fi anthology. 

My first thought was “what an ignorant twit”, because ayone who understands the genre knows that women (like Mary Shelley, Margaret Cavendish, Catherine Lucille Moore and Emma Orczy) invented various science fiction genres.

The mention of his own book at the end also raised red flags for me, he sounded like one of those “all publicity is good publicity” idiots. However, I was shocked when he actually confirmed that on his blog!

I’ve posted the whole thing below because I don’t want to drive traffic to his blog and feed his delusions, but the shaded sections give you the gist of what he’s saying.

Working brilliantly, is it?

Because the thing is, today, his book, the Guardian, sits at six hundred and thirty thousand in Amazon’s chart rankings.

To compare, one of mine, the Convenient Bride (chosen a random and hasn’t had any publicity recently) is five hundred thousand places higher on the chart. I literally rank over half a million places higher.

As many of you know, my earnings have been going down thanks to the changes Amazon keeps making and despite having 20 novels for sale on Amazon, (and a few novellas) I now need a second job.

So if I can’t keep myself with my rankings and twice as many books for sale, this guy is literally earning nothing more than pocket change from his writing.

So thank you, Mr Eason, for proving once and for all, definitely, that bad publicly does not pay.