Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#WomenNotObjects campaign sparks a conversation about sexism in advertising.

This week advertising executive Madonna Badger of New York’s Badger & Winters announced a new campaign against the “objectification of women” in advertising.

“I am your mother, daughter, sister, coworker, ceo. Don’t talk to me that way.”
Badger and her business partner Jim Winters created a video featuring various women holding copies of ads and calling for change.
Featuring controversial ads from Tom Ford, Balmain, American Apparel, Burger King and Carl’s Jr. among others, the video had 5.3 million impressions as of Monday, January 25.
In announcing the #WomenNotObjects campaign, Badger promised that her shop “…will never objectify a woman again in any of the advertising, content, posts — any form of communication that we do for any of our clients.”
Because sexism in advertising has been around for years, this is going to be a big conversation. We can all agree that advertising has used images of the female body or female sexuality in a positive way for a long time. But this campaign exposes the worst offenders. I know you’re itching to include Donald Trump in this context, but I will resist the  – uh oh, too late.
Some of the work shown in the video is downright cringe-worthy. In my view, it is the result of clients who don’t have the capacity to discern between a thoughtful idea that celebrates the female mystique, and an overt objectification – tits and ass – for a cheap laugh. They have no good ideas, or even a clue of what good creative is. And sharing the blame for these atrocities are the “yes people” who work for them – at their agencies or in-house departments. They’re not exactly the “best and brightest” either.
Another thought comes to mind in the form of a question. It’s important to ask: Do women objectify themselves by being slaves to fashion, following ridiculous trends, and buying into the “unrealistic body images” pushed in advertising and entertainment programming?
Is there room for women to have their own personal style, outside of all this nonsense, without being downtrodden, image-wise?
Is this just another clever, agency self-promo? I’m not cynical enough to go there. To Madonna and Jim I say, “Let’s keep the conversation going.”

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