I am unapologetically a feminist, always have been and always will be. I drum the virtues of feminism and own the tag loud and proud to my 11-year-old daughter and importantly to my 15 year old son. So when the opportunity arises at a five-day interactive festival where a session has the word “feminism” in it, I will be there.
And so off I went to “Changing the female narrative” which was unfortunately shoved among the exhibitors in a corner of the Austin Convention Centre. It was attended by maybe 30 women and 3 men in an event that boasts up to 100,000 over its 10 day set. Even I, as a card-carrying feminist had images of the stereotypical group that would be present at this session but was still expecting more numbers considering the following statistics from Harvard Business “The Female economy” in 2009
- Women control 85% of ALL CONSUMER purchases in US.
- Women account for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the United States, and over the next decade, they will control two thirds of consumer wealth
- Women make the decision in the purchases of 94% of home furnishings…92% of vacations…91% of homes… 60% of automobiles…51% of consumer electronics
- 91% of women say that advertisers don’t understand them.
So why in 2015 is the word feminist still cluttered with negative connotation? Why in 2015 is content and marketing advertising yet unable to be crafted and curated with the female consumer in mind?
The gross bias of content towards men is not just about sexist messages. Its biased content seen through the male lens that isn’t necessarily deliberate.
It is also habituated in our language, our conversations and our belief systems.
If companies want their brands to reach the female consumer, advertisers and marketers need to have a daily consciousness about the language, style and beliefs that infiltrate through their ideas and pitches.
The very powerful “Run like a girl” campaign was a challenge to what appears a benign three words but with very potent sub text of being inferior. There are literally thousands of small examples in advertising and content marketing that we can all , as male and female consumers challenge .
We are attempting to bridge this gap by identifying women who are role models for relating a future reality that upholds feminist values and that celebrates the power of the female consumer in a way that is inclusive, entertaining and inspiring.
The pendulum is still on the male narrative and its time to swing girls. Swing hard.
Nancy Hromin is at SXSW and can be contacted at email@example.com