Always #LikeAGirl Campaign - Can P&G Really Promote Feminism?

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The new ad from Always and their #LikeAGirl campaign has caused a bit of a stir, with huge numbers of people taking to Twitter to say that it made them cry and re-think the way they use the statement "you run/throw/fight like a girl" as an insult. Now, I wouldn't be a very good Feminist Marketing Person™ if I didn't write a post about it, would I?

If you haven't seen the ad, here you go...

I like it.

It has issues of course, (like sounding overly scripted), but I think it's a step in the right direction. Plus, anything that pushes this message in front of people is a good thing.

Some people, though, seem to have got overly worked-up about it. Namely, the person who wrote this article for The Vagenda.

They complain that the positive message this ad promotes is essentially worthless because it was created by Proctor & Gamble, who are just trying to peddle lots of patriarchal crap like *gasp* tampons and sanitary towels. To be fair, she's mainly talking about specific 'scented' products, which she claims are not great for girls' self-esteem as they promote the idea that the female body is unnatural or disgusting.

I pretty much agree with the sentiment, but I feel that if you don't like a certain product, then you should simply not buy it. They also make unscented stuff. Just buy those instead. Or buy another brand. That's how the world works. Plus, there is no mention of any products - scented or otherwise - anywhere in this ad, just the Always logo at the end. It's a branding exercise. And a damn good one at that, judging by the response so far.

Oh, but let's not forget the other heinous crimes Proctor & Gamble have apparently committed. Like using blue liquid in sanitary towel adverts. Really? Can you image if it was red? Can you? Yes, periods are natural and let's all love our bodies and yadda yadda, but come on... No-one wants to watch a doll-sized version of The Shining in the middle of Coronation Street. And if you think this is causing girls to be confused about what a period actually is, then the problem is with education, not with adverts.

Or how about the fact that P&G also sell Ariel washing up liquid, with ads that don't feature men? Okay, fine. But my point stands: don't buy it. Write them an angry letter and buy the washing up liquid that has a man on the label instead (good luck with that).

Okay, it's true, all the women in this ad are beautiful and 'normal' looking. That's the main problem I have with it - there's very little diversity in terms of body shape, size or ability. I'm actually surprised one of the suits in the boardroom didn't demand to include a token woman with a prosthetic leg. That probably would have made it a thousand times better and got a thousand times more publicity.

But the work they are doing to help boost girls' confidence seems to be a good thing. This is from the #LikeAGirl section of the Always website:

Okay, so the 'BeingGirl' microsite is promoting Always, Tampax, Olay and Gillette Venus razors, but this is a business who are trying to make money. It would be great if every company was a not-for-profit charity but, unfortunately, the time of exchanging loaves of bread for horseshoe nails is long over, and people need money to live, so they can't.

So, the big question: Does the fact that Proctor & Gamble made this ad detract from the positive message it's trying to send?

Maybe.

But I don't care.

By sharing this video, yes, we are promoting Always and - by default - Proctor & Gamble, but I believe the good outweighs the bad here. Just because they are using a message to make profit, doesn't make the message itself bad. So, P&G might sell a few more packs of sanitary towels from it... big deal.

The more times ads like this are put in front of the eyeballs of men and boys, the more they might actually stop to think "Actually, yeah, maybe I shouldn't tell my mate he throws like a girl in front of my little sister." And more ads like this means more eyeballs. And that can only be a good thing.

Yes, maybe P&G are jumping on the 'feminism badwagon', along with Pantene and Dove*, but who cares? It's our bandwagon. Pull up a chair and join us for the ride.

*The Dove 'Real Beauty Sketches' and 'Patches' ads are fucking awful and I hate them, but that's not relevant here.