Advertising and Feminism
In today's world, we are witnessing closely that there are changes in the advertising world as everything develops and evolves rapidly. We would like to talk about 'Femvertising', the first example of which we saw in 2004. Femvertising; It is a word that emerged with the combination of the word’s feminism and advertising. Dove's 'Real Beauty' ad that many of us will remember was the ad that started 'Femvertising'.
Everything in nature occurs in line with a need. At this point, if we look at the starting point of the word 'Femvertising', it is the desire to change this mentality by showing women more passively in the advertising world where men are presented as active and dominant characters and by performing these stereotypical gender roles.
Today, one of the most important reasons for wanting to change this mentality is that ideologies such as feminism have become widespread and gain importance in society and that negative sexism towards women in advertisements negatively affects the self-confidence and self-confidence development of girls.
When we look at historical developments, neoliberal policies after Fordism created a consumer society, while technological developments create more dependent individuals with the diversification of communication tools. Now we are all unable to move without our phones or electronic gadgets. Due to these transformations, the active structure in the mainstream has caused the counterculture to change its methods in theory and practice.
Today, the radical politics of the counterculture, including feminism, take on a populist character. The discourses, which are generally reduced to reformist demands, seem to be a passive subject in a sense when the superficial and demanded temporary solutions are considered. Advertisers are instrumentalizing feminism by reforming its discourse and practices to exclude radical lines. When we look at the advertisement, which is the emergence of the word femvertising, we encounter the 'real beauty' advertisement of the Dove brand in 2004.
In this advertisement, a group of women with different physical characteristics and different ages were brought together to promote products in different areas. The ad seems to defy stereotypes about beauty. However, when examined in detail, it can be said that these women are flawed, and they set out with the idea that they should change themselves. In addition to empowering women with different physical characteristics by making them self-confident, all these women become primary consumers of a market that appeals to them. Because women are the most important consumer subject. The purpose of this advertisement is to break the perception of beauty and to show that other bodies can be healthy, valuable, and attractive by destroying the ideal body perception in society. On the other hand, the advertisement shows that it is possible for women to gain self-confidence by consuming these products.
The most well-known advertisement in another femvertising trend is the Nike Women advertisement, which was shot in Turkey in 2017 with the slogan "Know Us That Way".
When we look at this advertisement, in addition to bringing together professional and amateur sportswomen, Dance Factory was shot with a team of dancers and actors. The aim of this advertisement is to break the prejudices that women are gentle, fragile, and powerless and to replace them with the image of successful and strong women in matters that fall within the domain of men. However, if we look at the content correctly, the target audience of Nike Women is these women. Every woman who starts sports is a potential customer. The fact that women are not strong and not starting or continuing sports will have a negative impact on the income of this brand. Therefore, the focus of the advertisement is not women's initiation into sports, but how many people will consume their products under the influence of Nike's feminist perspective. Femvertising advertising examples from brands such as Nike and Dove show how functional feminism has become in the advertising market in recent years.
With these advertisements, the title of feminism is redefined under the title of consumption and drawn into the system with the strategies used. Advertisers hide real social inequalities behind their ad campaigns and market them in a popular and stylish way. The world they present is one where all men and women are equal, but some are more equal. Femvertising is a tribute to consumerism rather than supporting feminist movements, and although they say they are the voice of women, they only add value to them if they are consumers.
Advertising is the most important weapon of the consumer society. Today, we can say that a new title has been created under the name of consumer feminism. Women in this group establish their identities through consumption. Therefore, by purchasing products that can carry the feminist label, they can benefit from the positive connotations of being a feminist, such as being a strong, independent woman today.
For years, we watched women doing housework, taking care of their children, cooking good meals for their husbands, and presenting kitchen utensils on Mother's Day in advertisements. In addition to advertisements in which women's duty and purpose of existence is housework, we also saw through manipulation the creams we should use, the clothes we should wear, what we should consume to be a woman. In advertisements emphasizing "beauty", which also reinforces the perception of the ideal female body. We have adopted these advertisements for the cooperation of patriarchy, which confines women to motherhood and home, and capitalism, which objectifies them. In recent years, every brand has started to increase their women-themed ads. While emphasizing the strong and free woman, it visualizes the modern and attractive woman image with certain patterns and creates new norms that determine how to be a woman. The more feminism is shown in advertisements, the more it is shared on social media, so it plays a very important role in the dissemination of the advertisement.