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In celebration of National Women’s Day, Bic South Africa received a lot of criticism for an advertisement the company had released last year (2015) stating, “Look like a girl, Act like a women, Think like a man, Work like a boss.” When I first came across this advertisement, I not only asked myself, “Who approved this?!?,” but also, “What is Bic trying to reveal by saying ‘Look like a girl??!’” Luckily, I am not the only one to question the advertisement as it was pulled down from social media for receiving a great deal of negative feedback. Frequent comments consisted of: “Why am I expected to look like a child? Why am I expected to see the world through a masculine lens? Why am I expected to ‘Think like a man’ but not expected to ‘act like a man’ on my so-called manly thoughts?”
Furthermore, this advertisement falsely insists that men are more empowering in the sense that thinking like one is somehow associated with success. I still do not understand why Bic promotes that looking like a girl is associated with achievements. I understand that staying youthful and appearing to look young is important to many in our society, but how does that relate to success in the professional world?
Soon after the posting, Bic South Africa delivered an apology via Facebook, the same platform the advertisement was first promoted, announcing that the quotes were to be understood “in the most empowering way possible and in no way derogatory towards women,” ensuring “that something like this will never happen again.”
Not to mention, Bic released a pen in 2012 strictly for the use of women as it, apparently, sat more comfortably in their hands and came in pink, purple, and light blues: colors often associated with femininity.
Through the development and publishing of this ad, Bic South Africa has disregarded many aspects we have read and learned in this class, as it undermines the fundamental principles of feminism.
In the effort of repairing the original advertisement that Bic South Africa had posted, I made minor, yet significant adjustments by altering the word choice. By eliminating “Look like a girl, Act like a women, Think like a man, Work like a boss” and exchanging the quotes with “Be Profession, Be Charismatic, Choose Bic,” I feel as if the advertisement could become successful and more importantly, appropriate. While I view the choice of words that I have used to substitute the original quotes, I feel further inclined to believe that my version of the ad is the authentic version. The woman in the image appears to be charismatic by reason of her smile. She also appears to be professional seen by her attire. The advertisement does promote National Women’s day, although it is fair to celebrate a day for women as men are equally granted the same day. Though this advertisement attempts to market women on their national day, I feel as if the adjustment in words advertises a more inclusive approach, targeting, both, men and women.
By creating my culture jam advertisement, I use a more progressive technique to attract consumers. I am unfamiliar with South Africa’s social norms and aspects of equality, so I am unsure if ads like the one I have found are common among its people. Regardless, I still discredit Bic South Africa for advocating social status between gender. In addition, I experimented with different fonts to find one that is clean and simple, fitting to the amended message.