Advertisements and marketing campaigns that empower women make a positive difference in two ways. They improve how women feel about themselves and how the company is perceived. 91% of respondents in a survey with She Knows Media believe that how women are portrayed in advertisements has a direct impact on the self-esteem of many females.
In the past, many marketing campaigns have objectified women and view them more as objects desired for pleasure rather than actual human beings. This kind of disrespect from advertising companies diminishes any sense of self-worth a woman may feel towards themselves. More importantly, ads give men false ideals about how a woman should look and be treated.
One company who continuously shows little respect towards females is Axe. Axe is notorious for portraying women as annoying, clingy airheads. In one advertisement from 2012, Axe aired a commercial featuring a woman without a head, taking the insult “airhead” too far. Similarly, Reebok started an uproar when they previously used the slogan “Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout.”
In addition to being portrayed as objects, women are often portrayed by most of the advertising industry as being weak, vulnerable or hiding behind their own bodies in attempts to disappear. All are implications of how a woman would see herself in the mirror: insecure and afraid.
But the advertisements that do celebrate women, “femvertising,” have become extremely popular, reaching millions of views on YouTube. One of the most popular femvertisements is the #likeagirl commercial by Always. #Fightlikeagirl shows the effect that gender stereotypes have on adolescents and how a girls self-esteem plummets through puberty when doing something “like a girl” becomes an insult. Through their commercial, Always teaches young women not to feel inferior to others because of their gender.
Femvertising not only makes a positive impact on how women feel about themselves, it influences what women buy. 52% of women polled by Huffington Post claimed to have purchased a product because they liked the way women were portrayed in an advertisement.
Society has taken huge strides towards breaking down gender-equality barriers since the 1900s, but there is still progress to be made. But regardless of how one may feel about female empowering advertisements, they are here to stay.