Brands vs Women

International Womens’ Day celebrated every year on March 8; is a victory after beating the battle of extreme suppression. It’s a day to remind that women should no longer be told, ‘who to be, how to be, what to do and how to do it.’

International Women’s Day isn’t any occasion of extravagance, but it is the celebration of a history about a gender. The struggle for freedom of expression, in terms of equality, empowerment and even Right to Vote. The saga of a gender which suffered violence and abuse for decades.

In this century, the world should be doing more about GDP rates, literacy, employment, global warming and global peace. Yet there is a section in the developed world that breeds ignorance to women issues.

Although things are changing, the blunders still happen in advertisements in the  form of ‘casual’ sexism, shaming and more. Here are the few advertisements from yesteryears which form the benchmarks of what-not-to-do when creating a campaign for International Women’s Day.

  • Bic South Africa: In honor of International Womens’ Day, the company posted and extremely sexist post on their Facebook page. The quote read, ‘Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man and work like a Boss.’ Apparently, it was supposed to be something empowering. But it was not even a bit close to anything.

As the saying goes, one should learn from their mistakes. But Bic pens repeated the same bizarre in 2012. They designed a pen entirely for Women by giving them pink and purple colors. The tag said, For her.

Creativity turned cruelty. It is sceptical how brands think of women.

  • Subway: Women should have a slim and a perfectly toned for bikini season (every time). In an advertisement by subway they remind women to stay thin for Halloween. The sub chain appeals women to feel guilty if they indulge in that delicious burger since it’s always important to stay skinny for Halloween. “You got to stay in shape for all the costumes,” a judgy actress says frivolously to her McDonald’s- annihilating lunchmates.

Subway's New Ad Reminds Women It's Important to Stay Thin for Halloween

 Body shaming is the harshest form of Bully. The promotion as the brand claims is humorous, it is nothing but to make women feel insecure and ashamed of their body.

  •  Walmart: The world’s biggest retail chain ignited a controversy after posting a section of ‘plus sized clothes’ for Halloween as “Fat Girl Costumes”. The brand made a huge blunder in choice of their words. Sometimes not telling the truth in advertising, is a good choice to opt for.

  • Cinnabon: Corporations and brands often walk a fine line when a tragic event is a trending topic. Fast food bakery chain Cinnabon tweeted “RIP Carrie Fisher, you’ll have always have the best buns in the galaxy,” referring to her famous hair rolls in “Star Wars.”

Fine line & open to interpretation

The brands have the power to forge social changes and influence broader society through advertisements. Let 2019 be the best year to bring the change and not just preach about equality.



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