WWSF Weekend Convo 2

Does Feminism Need Rebranding?

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This week’s conversation is courtesy a curious recommendation that maybe, just maybe, feminism may need rebranding, by Elle UK. Their latest campaign, featured in their November issue, (which also features Natalie Portman’s quip on feminism that we covered in our last week’s conversation), has invited “three feminist groups to work with three award-winning advertising agencies to re-brand a term that many feel has become burdened with complications and negativity.”

According to Digiday, Beth Bentley, director of digital strategy and innovation at Weiden + Kennedy, the agency that Elle has tied up with, has this to say about the collaborative effort: “We see this more as a re-imagining than re-branding feminism. We could have chosen to make an ad encouraging women to think differently about feminism, but the idea of tying this issue up in a snappy ‘end-line’ struck us as reductive, and at odds with the underlying spirit of feminism. Our goal was to use creativity to make this issue bigger, not smaller.”

Laurie Penny in The Guardian brushes it aside as mere sloganeering, labeling Elle “a fashion and beauty magazine, not a historically notable manual for gender revolution…” and the campaign on “rebranding feminism” as one “to give gender politics a nip, tuck and polish. The result is flowcharts and a lot of hot pink equivocation that airbrushes out the ugly, uncomfortable bits of women’s liberation”.

Is feminism mere “man-hating”? Can it be deemed unpopular owing to “bad marketing”? Is it time for an image overhaul?

Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments – we know this will be a cracker of a conversation!

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