Welcome to UBC Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
During the 2015 international Women’s day, Societe BIC or more commonly referred to as BIC released an ad that was intended to empower women to pursue success. Unfortunately, it plays into the narrative of how the business world is a man’s world and if you don’t “think like a man” you will not succeed. The advertisement depicts a successful, well-dressed woman of colour inferring that anyone can be successful in their chosen field, regardless of skin colour. Which I think is a good and powerful message that we should send. What I find to be concerning are the captions on the left of the women, “look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss”. The messages imply that if you don’t follow certain societal conventions you can not and will not succeed.
The first message “look like a girl” was quite disturbing as it promotes the sexualization children. Also, it implies that women are only beautiful while they are young promoting a very offensive message. Since the woman in the picture is wearing a business suit it shows that only women who are young and beautiful are able to succeed professionally.
The second message is “act like a lady,” while the meaning of lady in this context is somewhat ambiguous, I will assume it means acting like a lady in popular culture. In pop culture, ladies are usually emotionally reserved and restrained letting men do most of the “heavy lifting.” It is essentially telling women that in order to succeed or to hold high positions of power in business you have to let men do the work and ride on their coattails to reach the top. I find this a troubling message to send women.
The third message is “think like a man” while implies that man are smarter than women and in order to compete in the business world you have to think like them. The final message shows that in order to “work like a boss” or be a boss you have to adhere to the points mentioned above. The overall message of this ad is that men are better, smarter and more likely to succeed and women are unable to succeed; essentially saying that men are leaders and girls are mere followers.
My take on the jamming on this ad was to try and expose the subjective and underlying meaning of their ad by changing the text. I changed the text from “look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss” to “if you are young and hot, never challenge authority, become more masculine, you can be a boss”. I wanted to translate the central advice on how to become a “boss” into what I interpreted it to be.
Their first point to women was to look like a girl. To me, this felt the same as telling women that if you wanted to be successful you have to be or at least look young and beautiful. Their second point to women was to act like a lady. To me, this translated to act reserved and restrained as mentioned above. This meant that women should never try to challenge male authority and simply help them succeed in order to raid on their coattails to success.
Their third point was to think like a man. To me, this felt like they were saying that men were smarter and in order to compete in business, an intellectual sport you would have to transform your thinking into that of a man to essentially be more masculine. Their last line was to work like a boss. While this can be interpreted into working really hard, the earlier lines changed my perception on this line. To me, I interpreted this as if you follow the three-step process you will have the opportunity to work like a boss essentially to become a boss.
With the question mark to end the #Happywomensday, I wanted to pull attention if this is the type of thing we should be advertising. Advertising to women that in order to reach high positions of power you have to adhere to masculine submission. Thomas Brooks mentioned that “We must try to find where the change procedures that have worked so successfully for the private sector in producing different attitudes toward the management process, and are working to some extent in dealing with the illness of racism, can also be made to work for us in the field of sexism.”
Brooks, Thomas M. The Family Coordinator, vol. 23, no. 4, 1974, pp. 426–426. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/583124.
Shaw, Lois B. Contemporary Sociology, vol. 13, no. 1, 1984, pp. 104–105. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2068350.