Culture Jam Assignment
I chose to discuss an advertisement released by Bic, which is primarily a pen company. The ad contains an attractive professional woman and the text “Look like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a man, Work like a boss.”
Photo Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-33893386
Gender inequality, specifically in the workplace, is a prevalent issue in society. Recently, there have been many movements towards shrinking the gender pay gap and promoting the fact that women are equally as capable as men in any field of work. The four short lines in this ad attempt to validate the strict workplace gender stereotypes that people have been relentlessly trying to break. The text suggests that there is a distinct mold that women must fit into in order to be successful in the workplace. The ad implies that women should look unrealistically and stereotypically attractive and younger, like “girls”. In the workplace, women have been sexualized and valued for their looks, rather than their intelligence, which is wrong on so many levels. The ad suggests that women are not capable of achieving the same level of thought as men, and they should therefore “think like a man”, which is incredibly degrading. The final line encourages women to “work like a boss”. This line is not gendered and is instead left up interpretation by the consumer. That being said, it is easy to assume at this point in the ad that Bic is implying that men stereotypically fit the mold of being a boss, and women must again adapt in order to be a successful leader in the workplace. In addition to the already offensive primary content, Bic added “#HappyWomensDay” to the bottom of their ad. This is very distasteful, and is insulting to women. Both men and women will continue to believe and conform to gender stereotypes if the movement towards equality in the workplace keeps facing barriers in society, such as companies like Bic releasing sexist advertisements. The problem I will be addressing with my jamming is the workplace gender stereotypes that Bic is confirming and promoting in their advertisement
In my jammed advertisement, I unravelled the short phrases in the original ad to show their true messages. I wanted to not only highlight the absurdity of the phrases in Bic’s ad, but to show that while they seem to be portraying harsh stereotypes, they are stereotypes are still much to prevalent in modern workplaces. I changed the first line to “Be unrealistically attractive (to impress your male colleagues)” because women are sexualized in the workplace, especially in traditionally male-dominated fields. The line “Do not intimidate men” is meant to explain that women are expected to act a certain way in an effort to ensure that their male counterparts do not feel “less manly” or intimidated by them. I changed the third line to “Your thoughts/opinions are not enough (therefore, think like a man)” because that really was the message in the third line of original advertisement. Women are told from a constant age that they should do things “like a man”, as if doing something “like a woman” is not enough. As mentioned above, it is fair to conclude that although the last line of the original ad was not gendered. The message of the entire ad is that women are inferior in the workplace as per gender stereotypes, which is why I simply added “(male)” in the middle of the last line. Finally, I changed the hashtag in the bottom left corner of the ad from “#HappyWomensDay” to “#PromotingGenderStereotypes”, because I thought it more accurately summarized the key message of the original ad.