Jenny Chen Bic Ad

My original ad comes from Bic, a company which manufactures everything from razors to pencils. This ad comes in celebration of International Women’s Day, which is why it contains a hashtag at the bottom. The ad is supposed to be empowering to women because it recognizes the fact that women all over the world have to look good, act in a “ladylike” fashion, understand their male counterparts, and work very hard in order to succeed. To some extent, the ad does recognize some of the issues in our society, which puts extreme pressure on women to fit into some narrowly-defined social expectations. However, the ad fails to mention many other issues in society and also defines “women” as a very narrow demographic. The ad, at the same time, empowers women and undermines feminism. On the one hand it admits that women have to reach some impossible standards of beauty, behaviour and achievement; and on the other hand, it suggests that women can easily achieve all that. What it more, the ad suggests that women reach these milestones every day and, with the help of Bic products, they can continue to do so in the future. The main problem with this ad is that is doesn’t recognize the many different experiences of women, their struggles, and the range of their experiences. For one thing, the ad clearly embraces ideas of heteronormativity and femininity. Moreover, it puts forwards an ideal of femininity which is to be celebrated, namely the feminine person who is also a high achiever and high economic earner. Thus, the ad clearly aims at a target audience of middle to upper class, financially independent women with a lot of disposable income. All the other women on the planet have not earned the right to be celebrated on Women’s Day. 

My jammed version of the ad tries to unsettle all the different assumptions which have traditionally been made about what constitutes womanhood. By substituting the original image with that of well-known trans-gender person Caitlyn Jenner (who used to be Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner), my jammed version of the ad uses humor to show how popular media fails to understand how wide women’s experiences actually are. This person, who is transgender and yet has been heteronormative for most of her life, who has fathered children, married a woman and earned a lot of money, does not fit the concept of womanhood or femininity envisioned by Bic. Yes, women can be all of those things that Bic asks them to be, but they can also be a lot more. Nobody can deny that this person has been an example of hard work and determination, that is now quite feminine and attractive, looks like a “girl,” but definitely can think like a man too. Yet, this person does not fit the ideals of femininity put forward by Bic or by our traditional society, mainly because he doesn’t fit into our traditional, heteronormative paradigm. My jammed ad is trying to expand our understanding of what is like to have a woman’s experience in today’s world.

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