International Women’s Day 2018: A day of celebration or cashing in on equality?

Every year International Women’s Day comes around and my twitter feed is littered with bad jokes and genuine concerns from Piers Morgan fans asking “But When is International Men’s Day?!” ERM EVERY DAY FUCKERS (but no seriously it’s the 19th Of November, get it in your diaries boys). But what also litters my Instagram and Email inbox is promo content from brands claiming to support IWD (we’re calling it this from now on, it’s 1am and I’m too lazy to type the whole thing out) by hosting a sale or giving a discount. IT’S THE ONE DAY A YEAR WE CELEBRATE WOMEN AND HOW FAR WE’VE COME, HERE GET 10% OFF OUR KNICKERS!!! Now I’m not dumb (small pause…) I get that this is capitalism. We’re tryna’ sell some damn products and make some damn BUCK$$$ here bitch. But capitalising on a day that was literally formed to celebrate women in Soviet Russia gaining suffrage (that’s right you guys, I wikipedia fact checked, it’s all very professional up in here) to sell a few more t-shirts with empowering feminist quotes emblazoned on the front is quite frankly ….. not very feminist at all.

I mean seriously, I’ve been informed via countless emails that my gym is giving free entry to all females on this day (bitter cos’ I can’t benefit with my monthly membership) – because nothing screams female freedom like a 45 minute free spin class right? Cardi B and Camilla Cabelo have teamed up with Apple Music to make inspirational female playlists just for this day. That’s great n’ all, and don’t get me wrong I love Cardi, like really, I left a poolside cabana with cocktails on tap at the Ritz to go see that girl grind on stage 6 months pregnant for a 20 minutes set last year- but why aren’t they making these playlists and tapping into their female audience before IWD, instead of profiting from the increased streams on a day where women will be looking to feel EMPOWERED? Cos money. And whilst fast-fashion brand Pretty Little Thing have taken a step in the right direction by giving 100% of the profits of their empowering slogan tee’s collection to a women’s charity, they’ve also lugged in a load of other products to the collection which don’t contribute any % and are merely there for profit, because what? M O N E Y H O N E Y . IWD has become another sales holiday for brands to cash in on the current uplifting and inspiring movement of feminism and female-empowerment, instead of actually giving a fuck about the reasoning behind it.

Pretty Little Thing’s IWD Campaign

What happens when the day comes to an end, and the “GRL PWR” slogan tee’s get sent to the sales bin as last months’ fashion trend? Does feminism go out of fashion too?

This may seem like an ill-timed rant of capitalism and jumping on the band wagon of current events, but applauding yourself for posting a #bodypos Instagram campaign whilst ignoring the fact you don’t pay your female employees on time, or ever, is exploiting the sheer audience you are trying to profit from. If you want to make a difference whilst empowering your customers, tell us about your female manufacturers, your designers, the labour workers and the packers. Introduce us to your team, the faces behind your brand. Pay them a living wage. Pay them on time. Highlight female issues and non-profit organisations throughout the year instead of this one day. Give a percentage to women’s charities without shouting about it. Or shout about it whilst actually giving a shit. But let your values and your actions reflect your campaigns and your Instagram posts. We can all do better and lift each other up every day of the year, and not just because their might be a profit margin in it for us.

Happy International Women’s Day ladies. Go do something that makes you smile today.

Ps that is totally fine if that includes shopping on said fast-fashion sites.

Pps that is also fine if it is sitting on the sofa eating shit and watching a sad rom-com.


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Published by Jess Davies

Claiming a tiny corner of the internet as my safe space to share my thoughts, opinions and jibber jabber.

One thought on “International Women’s Day 2018: A day of celebration or cashing in on equality?

  1. I think we’ve created our own problem. Don’t you?

    These days people want to know about a brand, they want to know that X companies ethics match their own, is the wool in this jumper sourced from ethically protected sheep? A companies ethics are almost as important as their product.

    When you have commercials for razors telling men to “do better” you know the world is messed up. Oh, fyi I don’t have a problem with men being told to do better, just through the sales mouthpiece. Because whether you like it or not however positive the message, it’s underlined with “buy our stuff”… and that leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. (Or stubble on my chin..)

    Business shouldn’t sell based on ethics, because advertising on its base level is manipulation, all advertising is designed to make you want the thing they’re selling. Like those sites with fake countdown clocks, or sale prices, that were actually cheaper six months ago, when they upped the price for a few weeks, so legally they can now say its a sale.

    Advertising has just evolved. It’s now linking to the things we care about, it used to be so that hands that do dishes felt as soft as your face, now its women can do anything.. it’s hollow, its meaningless its a manipulation.

    Why do you think these Instagram Celebs are called “influencers”? Because you buy a product as that person uses it, endorsed it. However it can backfire, you’ve only to look at the Pepsi Ad that Kendell Jenner did, or the other Kardashian’s getting pulled down for their diet products.

    On the flip side, maybe it does highlight women’s issues, even if you’re rushing to the free spin class, whilst ordering that discount dress, maybe there is something genuine that sticks.

    Bill Hicks had it right.. 25 years ago, “If you’re in marketing or advertising… Kill yourselves..” His whole bit about how Marketing separates us in to groups, and pitches the products to us that they know we will buy as we have a leaning towards the feeling they create.

    What i think its fascinating though is that we all go through life not acknowledging this manipulation.. we believe we’re all smart enough to see through it, I’m not so sure though.


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