Dove started it. Soft piano music floating through the minimalist warehouse space as a woman sits down across from a sketch artist. “Tell me about your hair,” he says, as she starts to describe different parts of her body – depreciatingly, of course – while he sketches the ugly version of her she described. Then other people describe her and he makes a beautiful, more realistic sketch using that information. Look, women, says Dove. We tell you this because we’re here for you, says Dove. You really are unpleasant to yourself, says Dove. Be good to yourself, says Dove. Buy more Dove, says Dove.
As soon as feminism hit the mainstream, when Caitlyn Moran’s How To Be A Woman sat at the top of the bestseller’s list for months and The F Word started appearing in the coverlines of ELLE and Cosmo, advertisers started to see dollar signs. You can imagine corporate men sat around in a room with a focus group of 20 and 30 something woman going, “Right. So maybe this feminism thing is going to actually…sell stuff? Sheesh, I’ll take 20 feminisms right away!"
A fake ad agency, “jane st.”, has parodied this and it’s amazing. The tagline: “Powering empowerment through the power of brands”.
A jane.st video looks at the demand for “girl power” ads and the thirst of agencies to latch onto something. The video notes that while these ads claim to be empowering or feminist, they really just identify a new so-called “insecurity” and monopolise on that. “They might not even know they have these insecurities,” says jane st.’s Chief Empowerment Officer. “So it’s really important that we dig them up.”
There’s her – the world’s first deodorant to build women’s confidence with its revolutionary zero-hour protection to let women smell exactly how they should smell. Confident. There’s Terry’s – the footwear company that finally showed women they should be comfortable enough with their feet enough to wear sandals.
God bless jane st. They’ll even empower your company’s logo for free.
Follow Hannah Rose Ewens on Twitter here @hannahrosewens