Think like a Women: Culture Jam of BIC’s National Women’s Day Ad

BIC’s National Women’s Day Advertisement

Deconstructing the Advertisement

This advertisement shows a confident and professional black women with the quote “Dress like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a man, Work like a boss” with the hashtag #HappyWomensDay across the bottom.  BIC, the same company who released “Pen’s for Women“, issues an apology claiming the advertisement was meant in “the most empowering of ways” (Aghbali 2015).  While attempting to celebrate women, the advertisement completely misses the point of trying to redefine gender stereotypes by continuing to solidify the very same notions!

One aspect of this ad that is agitating is the line “dress like a girl”.  Women are made to believe that they lose value as they age.  However, no matter what age, women continue to be objectified and sexualized.  Women are told to ‘dress age appropriate” hence the idea that BIC is saying to tone down your womanly features and dress younger. The objectification is apparent in this advertisement because “dress like a girl” furthers the notion that women have to look young in order to garter respect within the workplace.

Claiming that women need to “act like a lady” correlates the gendered idea that women need to be submissive, and especially not too assertive, in the workplace.  Using terms like “lady” help keep around the outdated notion that women myst be passive and poised in order to be respected.  While there is nothing wrong with those adjectives, the problem arises when one only attaches them to only to women, like this ad is attempting to do.

Lastly, it is astonishing to me that the ad writers thought the ignorant and sexist term “think like a man” was meant to celebrate women.  The line compares the idea that only men contain the rational logic that is celebrated in the work place; they are making it out as if that is the only way to succeed or make it to the next step of “working like a boss”.  The whole advertisement makes it seem as if one would not be respected if they thought like a women in order to work like a boss.

Jamming the Advertisement

Analysis of The Jammed Advertisement

With my poor photoshop skills, my goal with this jamming was to highlight the hard work many women already do, often that is in risky situations such as in factories or sweatshops.  85% of workers in sweatshops are women and they are often forced to work without sick pay and have their wages cut if they are leave for more than five minutes (Mayer 2016).  By using child workers, I hoped to draw the irony behind the statement “dress like a girl” to have value in a work place.  Often these girls are under 15 years old working in sweatshop conditions. I attempted to jam the notion that ‘girls’ are working and not being equated with value, contrary to what the ad claims.  Finally, I hoped to connect the slogan “work like a boss” by jamming it with the poor working conditions and countless hours worked by these women.  Often in mega corporations, like BIC,  the boss is no longer on the ground doing the the hard work and often delegates the work off, or exploits the needs of third world countries by getting them to do the cheap labour for the company.  While the original ad claims to have not realized the fact they were highlighting the patriarchal norms in the business realm,  I strived to have the jammed ad stress the absurdity of the line “think like a man” and also show how detrimental it is towards women as a whole.

BIC realized that their attempt to celebrate women, once again backfired.  While many people were outraged by the ad, there were many who accepted it as it is because “its a man’s world and we’re just living in it”.  However, BIC is not the only major company missing the mark on providing non sexist ads.  Women are used to sell everything from beer to cars to men’s deodorant.  And with culture jamming, the audience can “reject the idea that marketing, because it buys its way into our public spaces, must be passively accepted as one-way information flow” (Klein 2008).  Advertisements should strive for non degrading slogans, especially towards those who are constantly marginalized in everyday live.

While BIC claims their intention was not to offend anyone, one can wonder how they can keep making these mistakes over and over again.

Because at the end of the day,


Works Cited:

Aghbail, A. (Aug 11, 2015). ‘Act like a lady, think like a man’ gets BIC poor marks for penmanship.  CBC. Retrieved from:

Klein, N. (2008).  Culture Jamming: Ads Under Attack.  Gale Cengage Learning.  Retrieved from:

Mayer, C. & Sorrell, L. (Sept 26, 2016). “H&M in factory horror as workers endure outrageous swearshop conditions”. The Sun.  Retrieved from: