March 5, 2020

IWD – More than just a marketing gimmick.

As International Women’s Day approaches, keeping feminism on everyone’s radar, it seems every company and every brand will fly the flag for women in some way or another – even if it’s just for a day or two. A logo change, an inspirational social post about Emmeline Pankhurst, releasing a gender pay gap, pictures of every single woman employee – you name it. Easy pickings for social media teams around the world.

But what effect does this supposed marketing gimmick have on the bigger picture? That picture being an ENTIRE gender.

This time three years ago I was writing my dissertation about feminism in advertising. Mulvey and Dyer gracing the pages with words of toxic masculinity, objectification and hellish stereotypes. Fast forward to now. I’m here, living and breathing in the very industry that I deemed so barbaric beforehand.

So, is it really all that bad? 

Of course not. 

Because I’m a white british woman living in a diverse and accepting city. 

We haven’t reached this level everywhere. There’s still so far to go. Feminism isn’t about a gender pay gap, it’s about representing equality for everyone, everywhere. And it’s initiatives like International Women’s Day that bring these issues to the forefront so we can change them for the better – globally. 

My childhood best friend Maddie, who’s studying Gender Violence and Conflict MA is my usual voice of reason. She describes IWD saying,

It gives feminism a platform. A platform to recognise the amazing achievements of women. In a world where we’re pitted against one another to have the best job, most expensive lifestyle or most liked selfie, it reminds us how strong we are when we unite to build each other up, celebrate one another’s successes and feel inspired to pursue our own ambitions – no matter how big or small they may seem.

It’s girl power in its purest form. 

It’s so easy to be critical, just 24 hours to celebrate a whole entire gender (I mean c’mon), but it is a step in the right direction. Away from those 50 year old media studies textbooks and towards new standards. Paving the path for those who are still living in a misogynistic world, and calling out those who are still not getting it right – no matter their gender. 

At the end of the day, life is about recognising each other’s accomplishments, empowering others and having fun in the process – International Women’s Day is the total embodiment of that. So like that friend’s selfie, hug your mum, compliment that girl’s hair on the tube, not just for one day – everyday. As Simone de Beavoir said,

One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others with love, friendship, and compassion.

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone.