HAVE WE LOST OUR SENSE OF HUMOUR?
There are many people who don’t understand why social-media users became angry about the Bic advert’s phrase, “Look like a girl, Dress like a lady, Think like a man, Act like a boss”.
I mean, where’s your sense of humour? There are way more important things to get angry about, surely.
And yes, maybe if this ad had come during another month, and not in the middle of Women’s Month after we already had Marie Claire put a domestic abuser in heels, and during which places like Cape Town’s Twelve Apostles hotel urged us to drink pink tea and wear dresses to celebrate our “womanhood”, maybe it would have blown over.
But the Bic ad was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The ballpoint pen that broke the well of women’s anger.
An exchange between two Facebook users, which took place in the comments block of Bic’s ad, sums it up perfectly:
One user noted: “The way everyone is going on about this I thought Bic had killed someone. Twitter and Facebook outrage troll mobs are ridiculous and sad. Anybody ever stop to think that your little moment of panty-knotting could be getting somebody fired? Get a damn grip.”
Like it or not, this user summed up what many South Africans thought.
Another user, Danielle Kate, took the time to explain why women and men were angry, and I am going to quote her extensively, as she did it so eloquently:
“You are right – there are definitely more pressing matters on the gender front than gendered stationery/corny and predictable sexist stereotyping.
“However, you are wrong in thinking that the ‘petty’ and the ‘pressing’ are unrelated. They exist on a self-sustaining continuum.
“If we lived in a world where there wasn’t [unequal] salaries for women, violence against women, systematic oppression of women, body-policing for women, slut-shaming for women or any other of those special benefits our gender affords us, then gendered stationery/advertising strategies would just be something silly. But we don’t.
“We live in a world in which the way we categorise and gender our bodies has a measurable, material effect on the lived experiences those bodies are exposed to.”
What women and feminists everywhere are trying to get at is that we live in a world where there is a very real history of women being trivialised, infantilised, objectified and marginalised.
And companies and marketers are some of the biggest culprits.
Frankly, we’re sick of it.
Ads that appeal to women? We think not
Women are not sexy animals. Finish and klaar!