How Social Media is Giving Feminism a Platform

By: Amanda Castillo | @_mandymichelle

Women take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Chicago
Women take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Lott – RTX2PDGE

Feminism is by no means a new idea, but it certainly has been giving a place to grow and spread through social media. Recently we have seen the rise of advertisements meant to empower women rather than using them as a selling point, we are seeing women show up in ads as people, not sexual objects. “Welcome to the world of femvertising: where the hard sell has been ‘pinkwashed’ and replaced by something resembling a social conscience, and where advertisers are falling over each other to climb on board the feminist bandwagon.”

Social Media and Feminism

As previously mentioned, feminism is not new. What is new is the platform that social media gives that allows feminists to come together from all across the world to promote and educate others on the importance of seeing women as equals and working to break through stereotypes. Through hashtags on Twitter we can bring awareness to #EverydaySexism. We can share our #yesallwomen stories and we can demand better ads, we have a louder and stronger voice that demands organizations take notice. “Social media has given consumers the power to speak out loudly against ads they find sexist.”

How This Impacts Advertising

“By the 21st century, feminism’s impact on advertising could be felt most in society’s increased awareness of sexism in advertising, an awareness continually encouraged by feminist scholars, journalists, advertisers and activists.” We are able to call out bad ads much more effectively and since women hold a lot of the spending power as well as make up a huge part of the workforce it is imperative that brands begin to embrace this change. “Of course their end goal is to sell their product, but in the process they’re standing up for something, raising awareness for important issues, and creating small cultural shifts that collectively benefit society.” “Our online presence is dominant (we use social media more, and we do 62 per cent of all online sharing).” It would be a mistake for brands to ignore this demographic in the age of social media. Not only does feminism expect better than sexist, overtly sexual ads like the ones that plagued the 50s, but they are quick to call out those that are not done well or still hold overtones of sexism, racism, or the idea that women are still inferior to men. We know better, we are trying to do better, and now we are holding others accountable to that as well.

women
A Dove campaign that sheds light on the stereotype that women need to weigh less to be ideal. It celebrates the fact that all body shapes and sizes are beautiful.

 

References:

Cohen, Claire. “How advertising hijacked feminism. Big time.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 09 July 2015. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11727478/How-advertising-hijacked-feminism.-Big-time.html.

“Feminism, Impact of.” Ad Age. N.p., 15 Sept. 2003. Web. 26 Mar. 2017. http://adage.com/article/adage-encyclopedia/feminism-impact/98471/.

Johnson, Chandra. “How feminism and marketing became bedfellows — and how it’s changing.” DeseretNews.com. Deseret News, 01 Sept. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2017. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865609965/How-feminism-and-marketing-became-bedfellows-2-and-how-its-changing.html.

Zmuda, Natalie, and Ann-Christine Diaz. “Female Empowerment in Ads: Soft Feminism or Soft Soap?” Ad Age. N.p., 02 Sept. 2014. Web. 26 Mar. 2017. http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/marketers-soft-feminism/294740/.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism