Is Feminism now a ‘brand conversation?’

Feminism is still relevant as we move through Feminism’s ‘forth wave’ which is feminism in the digital age. Ever since Dove released their ‘Real Beauty’ campaign 10 years ago, other brands and celebrities have gotten on board with a new CTA- to be yourself and be inspired. From Beyoncé’s 17 minutes VMA live performance to Under Amour’s ‘I Will What I Want’ campaign and Always ‘Like a Girl’ campaign, brands are ringing endorsements for gender equality and women empowerment. Feminism consumerism is now taking over the way companies brand themselves and how they create loyal customers.

Advertising over the past decade has received a bad reputation for many controversial commercials and print ads using skinny girls and photo shopped models giving off a bad imagine to young girl and women consumers. Now the ad world has changed and so has brand positioning. Using feminism has a platform to empower women is becoming increasingly popular in the digital age. Instead of ruining self-esteem brands like Dove and Under Armor are empowering women to follow their dreams.

False brand advertising and using models with unattainable bodies and looks was depicting reality for most girls. Joe Swinson who wrote an article back in 2011 for CNN about false advertising and the pressure to look good said that ‘from children’s toys to TV programs, images of the idealized body have permeated every level of our visual culture’. Now brands are showing girls that no matter their body shape, their talents, where there from, or who they are they can be somebody and conquer their dreams. No longer are brands using size 00 models for their campaigns, but real women with real dreams.


Recognize any of these hashtags. There all the hashtags of campaigns for Pantene, Always, Verizon, and Under Armor. Not only are brands promoting women empowerment, but also celebrities. During Beyoncé’s 17 minutes set at the VMA’s she had the words ‘Feminism’ flashing behind her. She is a brand herself and just like the commercials and brands below she is supporting women empowerment and realizing that media is no longer about unattainable dreams as girls watch super stars on tv and skinny models in commercials.

Brands are using female empowerment to create brand loyalty and to motivate and encourage woman. They are grabbing the heart, and sending a message. Brands from Under Amour, Pantene, P&G, Verizon and celebrities including Beyoncé, Gisele Bundchen, Misty Copeland and are all taking a stand and empowering all women through their commercials and ads. Researchers say we are in the 4th wave of feminism, the digital age.

Under Amour ‘I Will What I Want’ campaign featuring Gisele and Misty Copeland was a brilliant in sending their message to woman. They used athletes and models who had real stories. I believe Under Armor using Gisele as a brand ambassador was awesome. She is known as a model married to Tom Brady, someone who just sits there and looks pretty. But the commercial shows that she works hard too, and has overcome hardships, just like everyone else. Not only are they creating a commercial based on gender, but on interest too. Natalie Zmuda from an article called ‘Female Empowerment in Ads: Soft Feminism or Soft Soap’ says that brands are positioning themselves differently now, but they are going to have to continue to do so before it becomes the norm and no longer notable.

Marketers are being careful to not label themselves as Feminist, but even if they do not want to call themselves a feminist they most certainly are empowering women.

Always ‘Like a Girl’ campaign has a commercial and campaign divulging how hurtful it is for people to say you are ‘like a girl’ and they empower girls to embrace they fact that they do activities like a girl.

Verizon inspires girls during their ‘Inspire her Mind’ campaign to love science and technology not being favorable by girls despite the fact most people only think men do those jobs.

Pantene inspires girls to not be sorry during their Not Sorry Shine Strong campaign. Too many times women at home and at work are saying sorry for their actions. Pantene encourages women to stand up for what they believe in and be strong.

How much is this movement benefiting brands? Do you think it will hurt brands if they do not execute right?
What does this shift towards feminism consumerism mean for branding and loyalty?

Duberman, A. (2014, August 25). Beyoncé’s Feminist VMAs Performance Got People Talking About Gender Equality. Retrieved September 10, 2014.

Swinson, J. (2011, August 10). False beauty in advertising and the pressure to look ‘good’ Retrieved September 10, 2014.

Why Marketers Have Gone Soft on Feminism | News – Advertising Age. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2014.

“You Can’t Sit With Us!” – How Fourth-Wave Feminism Became ‘Mean Girls’ (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2014.

3 thoughts on “Is Feminism now a ‘brand conversation?’

  1. This article really shows how women are becoming more outspoken for equality. How this is included in magazines and women’s body image is intriguing. I would not have put those two ideas together but they have a lot to do with each other. Image is stressed which makes it a belief that is the image of beauty. It’s good to see this becoming more apparent and now having more of a backing.


  2. Because there are so many products that are made specifically for women, I think the shift towards feminism in branding is extremely important. There will always be a demand for women-focused products and the branding strategies will be implemented longterm and help brands in the long run. I don’t think that the lack of feminist views within branding will hurt any brand or product because it only markets to a certain amount of people, not a general populace.


  3. Pingback: Capitalising on feminism = better than sexism? | A blog by anna clark

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