We need actions from women empowered by business, not hashtags and cute slogans

“FEMVERTISING” is an advertising strategy used by businesses to promote goods and services using messages in favor of women. This is done to empower women and girls by encouraging gender equality, while disregarding traditional stereotypes of women. Women empowerment has gained popularity in recent years, especially on social media scenes. Femvertising is no stranger to some businesses, as sales of their products depend on this strategy. I am a big believer in advocacy for women’s rights and empowerment, but really, I don’t value substance-free exploitative advertising strategies.

You should not hijack a meaningful move just to earn a few coins. The Dove brand had a campaign on #SpeakBeautiful; an advertising project that shared photos of women before and after they were edited in efforts to help women and girls with body image issues. The Covergirl brand has its #GirlsCan campaign showcasing how the possibilities are endless with what women can achieve. These brands / businesses along with many others promote some form of women empowerment through the use of their products and certainly some of these ads and business models would make someone tearful because the messages behind them. Unfortunately, that’s all they do. They make us tear up, but how do they really help women? Do these businesses give or give back to disadvantaged women? Are the owners or the administration practicing their girl power slogans in real life? Or, is it all a façade?

Don’t get me wrong, some businesses use femvertising because they really want to empower women and girls by using their business models. However, on the same side of the coin, some businesses only use this as a way of earning profit through a “fashionable” organization. They are not partners for women empowerment, just allies of otherwise camouflaged bait click marketing strategies. Women have already been exploited for centuries. Now, our “allies” are trying to capitalize on the very moves that were created to help us fight against such exploitation and oppression, first. Sigh.

While femvertising can be a good business strategy, is it also a good advocacy strategy? At the end of the day, who benefits more from Femvertising? Is she really the oppressed woman who cannot afford to buy the exact product being advertised because she is underpaid? Or, are it the business entities that benefit from the ads that reflect that woman’s oppressive state? Advocacy and activism should not stop at slogans and hashtags. These slogans do not help real women facing real situations of oppression. There is much more work to be done.