CityPress - - Front Page - GRETHE KOEN grethe.koen@city­press.co.za

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!

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