On Our Radar: Today's Feminist News Roundup

• There's no question that feminism has never had the best PR, but this Rebranding Feminism contest, which seeks "creative" geared toward advertising, seems...problematic. Do we want feminism to be a brand? [Vitamin W]

• The geography of the gender wage gap, and what it means. (Among other things: If you work in Nevada, congratulations.) [Forbes]

• Dave Eggers' new novel, The Circle, is a fictional account of a young woman working her way up in the seductive, all-consuming headquarters of a prominent social network. It sounds an awful lot like Kate Losse's book, The Boy Kings, a nonfiction account of her five years working at Facebook—only Eggers' is already being heralded as the successor to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

• The recent stories about Julie Chen's eyelid surgery and Marissa Alexander's arrest and jail term have underscored an infuriating truth: The bodies, faces, and expressions of women of color are "read," and subsequently treated, far more suspiciously than those of their white counterparts. [Salon]

• Just in from the Department of Ideas We Can't Believe Someone Actually Had: A 12-year-old girl was made to play a slave in a historical reenactment that was part of a field trip. Her parents are now complaining, although I would like to believe "complaining" is accompanied by "opening a can of legal whoop-ass." [Colorlines]

• From the Fat Experience Project and Friend of Bitch Stacy Bias comes this illustrated story of one of the many actual humans in the faceless statistics about childhood obesity. It may break your heart a little, but don't let that stop you from sharing it. [Fat Experience Project]


by Andi Zeisler
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Andi Zeisler is the cofounder of Bitch Media and the author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. You can find her on Twitter.

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5 Comments Have Been Posted

"for men who care that there

"for men who care that there are two genders" strike 14. thanks for playing.

I guess I just don't see how

I guess I just don't see how soliciting innovation and creativity around how we conceptualize feminism is "problematic." As a feminist, one of my goals is for more people to give a shit about politics, equity, and social justice. Which might involve some selling, or marketing. What's the problem?

Unilever owns both Axe and

Unilever owns both Axe and Dove. On the one hand, they make commercials selling rape culture and impossible beauty standards. But on the other hand, Dove is branded a feminist company because they feature a variety of shapes, ages, sizes, colors of women in their ads. Few people know they are owned by the people who perpetuate the problem on the one hand. Feminism should not be a brand or else it becomes reduced to a corporate campaign. When it becomes a brand, like Dove, the end goal is not equity or real liberation but selling to liberal yuppie consumers. Lastly as a woman of color I have to ask where we are left with a corporate rebranding campaign. Probably behind.

Which is also why I'm a feminist

That Dove "real body" campaign is a real sham, in my eyes, because it's getting us "real women that don't look like Kim Kardashian or Scarlet Johannsen" to buy their products and "feel good" about them. Oh, and by the way, Unilever also owns Simple face care products. I was starting to love that stuff ... until I saw that logo on the back of my container.

But branding is powerful.

But branding is powerful. Society believes what Axe presents AND what Dove presents. Right now, feminism isn't publicly popular, much due to preconceived (incorrect) ideas about it. Wouldn't it be good for all of us to change this perception?

AND, branding doesn't have to be about a "brand". It can be about creatively framing an idea. Branding can serve to change the public conversation, which I think we need as feminists in the greater public realm.

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