GRSJ 300 99A – Culture Jam Assignment
The advertisement above was published by BIC in 2015 to celebrate International Women’s Day. BIC is a large company that is very well-known around the world and they mainly focus on selling stationary, pocket lighters and non-refillable shavers. On BIC’s website, their company values are listed as: “BIC is a special place to work, with a unique atmosphere of mutual respect and professional ambition that is characterized by: ethics, responsibility, teamwork, simplicity, and ingenuity.”
Going back to the advertisement that BIC posted for International Women’s Day, the advertisement itself disregards these values that BIC has listed on their website – mutual respect and responsibility. There are many problems with this advertisement by BIC. The focus of the advertisement is the text: “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss.” The use of specific phrases like “look like a girl,” “act like a lady,” and “think like a man,” brings us back to an era where women were only expected to take care of children, obey and be filial to their husband, and do housework all day. These phrases are not appropriate now, especially in an era where so many women and men are fighting for gender equality.
The phrase “act like a lady” and “look like a girl” portrays this meaning that society is expecting women to act a certain way: to be elegant and pretty. However, the phrase right after, “think like a man” especially stands out as it disregards women entirely and expects women to conform to certain rules, which is to think like a man, making it seem like men are the superior sex. The three phrases combined is essentially objectifying women and their bodies, telling women that their bodies are acceptable, but not their minds. There is no mutual respect here at all.
Aside from the text, the image used in the advertisement is only representing women of colour who are professionals. The image of choice is ignoring all other women of different races and also, different professions, which is another problem. It is very shocking to see such a well-known company to come out with an advertisement like the one above, and it is discouraging.
Jammed Version of Advertisement:
In my jammed version of the BIC ad, I have changed the description, the background, and the image used to represent women. In an advertisement, every detail should be considered because it is important to not influence the audience away from the original message. Since the advertisement is for International Women’s Day, my jammed version of the advertisement focuses on women empowerment, not telling women how they should think or what they should be like.
The problem with the original advertisement was the lack of representation that was displayed. Instead of portraying one woman of colour in professional attire, I replaced the photo with a good representation of women of different races in simple, white tank tops. With this alteration, I hope to deliver this advertisement message to the majority of women as oppose to one target group: women of colour in professional jobs. Having the women wear the same attire is ideal since the focus is on the women themselves and not what backgrounds they may come from. Having the same simple, white attire, I hope to portray unity among all women. I have also changed the background as well to a simple white design, so the focus is on the women as well. I did not want the background to distract the audience elsewhere, away from the women shown in the advertisement. In this aspect, it is a lot more empowering, and it fits the International Women’s Day theme better.
To conclude, the next focus is on the text: “Stay true to yourself, stand up for yourself, take good care of yourself, be confident in yourself, and you will succeed.” In my jammed version, I have changed the text completely. The problem with the original text was that it was not empowering, and it was sexist. In my version, instead of delivering a message to tell women to “look like a girl” or “act like a lady,” I replaced it with “stay true to yourself,” because I believe that is the most important and that is what everyone should believe in, women and men. I also replaced “think like a man” with “stand up for yourself” and “take good care of yourself,” because I want to send a message to all women that it is their right to stand up for themselves whenever the odds are stacked against them. I also want to send the message to all women that they should take the time to take good care of themselves because mental well-being is important. Lastly, I replaced “work like a boss” with “you will succeed” because I do not believe that working like a boss is something that needs to be prized. No one needs to become a boss to become successful. Success is different to everyone, and we should not normalize that becoming a boss automatically means success. Therefore, I want my advertisement to send a message to women to tell them that they will succeed in whatever they do.
Who we are. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bicworld.com/en/about-us/who-we-are