Tag Archives: feminism

I’m sorry, I fell for it too: Heineken fooled me. I now regret writing the “Pepsi, this is how it’s done” post

Last week I blogged about Heineken’s new ad ‘Worlds Apart’Pepsi, this is how it’s done. Heineken: Worlds Apart | #OpenYourWorld. At the time, I thought I was giving a fairly neutral opinion whilst swaying towards positive connotations towards the ad – I even suggested, like many others, that it was the antidote to Pepsi’s car-crash ad.
I want to sincerely apologise for my ignorance. As someone who is so outspoken against the immoral bullsh*t we all have to endure in this post-Trump hellhole, I have failed both you and me. In hindsight, and after reading more articles, I realised that I had fallen for the worst kind of marketing tactic. I’m embarrassed that someone who both works in advertising and is a human rights activist was able to have the wool pulled over my eyes – ethical consumption simply cannot exist in a marketed, profit-based environment no matter how many frills are added.

Aside from the blatant social change push as a tactic to sell beer, just like the Pepsi advert it is a reductive narrative that absolutely does not represent the way in which opposing opinions are resolved in real life. Furthermore, the narrative suggests that the opinions of the couples are on the same level, whereas misogyny, transphobia and climate change denial are entirely of a regressive ideology. I now see that these opinions placed alongside a progressive and moral ideology totally diminish the science and facts behind these important views. What our society struggles to understand is that there is a difference between having an opinion and believing something that is entirely morally wrong – denying climate change is wrong because climate change is real. What damages our society is the notion that social problems can be resolved if only people tolerate their oppression just a bit longer. That ideology is fundamentally everything I am against and the catalyst to my passionate drive for equality, yet I foolishly supported this tragic advert.

This ad doesn’t exist to solve the world’s problems, but to make you buy a product by causing you to associate whatever warm fuzzies it elicits in you with its particular brand of carbonated yeast water. Have you learned nothing from Mad Men? That this ad was deemed “good” by most people just means it does a better job than other ads of hiding that fact. – The Guardian

I also questioned my naivety surrounding the morality of Heineken regarding what they have done as a brand to support the social issues focused on in ‘Worlds Apart’ – do they support LGBT charities, climate change research or womens’ rights organisations? As someone who dedicates a lot of time deciding whether or not to spend my hard earned money on certain brands (particularly regarding animal cruelty and brands who fund that in China), I am disappointed in myself for not recognising that “Heineken is an amoral entity that treats human beings as expendable assets who exist purely to have their labor power exploited for the purposes of enriching its shareholders” (The Guardian). If I discovered that politically and socially, Heineken invested in, say, supporting the trans* community, I wouldn’t write this article. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and thes people who feature as progressive and outspoken are merely used as puppets.

What gets me more than anything, and what makes me feel ashamed for believing this sh*t is the fact that the people being attacked did not retaliate. At no point did those offended confront the ignorant person, despite claiming to be outspoken and sure of their moral place in this world. Whenever I feel offended or concerned about someone’s moral compass, I do not hesitate – I refuse to tolerate their ignorance – I cannot validate a point of view that ignores fact.
I cannot believe for a moment that the Black woman wearing a t-shirt saying “Smash the Patriarchy” would sit in silence whilst listening to a white, cis man project his degenerative views. Finding common-ground is of course not out of the question, but to insinuate that bigotry can be laughed off with a beer and a splash of tolerance sums up exactly what is wrong with humanity. The irony here is that Heineken used social problems that has largely eschewed capitalism to structure an advert.

Originally, I admittedly found it bizarre and almost insulting that the denial of a scientific fact was placed amongst transphobia and sexism. Now, I find it even more infuriating that this advert essentially promotes misandry as just a point of view that can be ignored. Being offended by feminism and trans* people is impossible – what is the alternative opinion to being transgender? There isn’t one. Heineken have essentially given a bigot a platform to say “hey, I don’t like this but I’ll use the correct pronouns because you don’t have a deep voice and I can’t see your five o’clock shadow, so you’re pretty passable, and that makes me feel more comfortable”.
The facts are here: climate change is real, women are paid less and trans* murders are an epidemic. There is no opinion here. There is no opposing view.

Yes, the people with the regressive ideas are humans, and they should be treated as such. They should not, however, be given an equal platform upon which to spew their ignorance. The false equivalency itself is whitewashing. (Caitlin Bladt)

If you don’t respect Nazis, you shouldn’t respect people who fundamentally believe someone’s identity and personhood is wrong. They are the same ideologies, but for some reason we seem to brush that under the carpet. And a beer certainly will not change that.

Once more, I’m sorry, and I do not support the Heineken advert.

P.S. Please also note that all the “right wing” opinions are from white, cis men. Just saying.
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The only time I will ever use the term ‘real woman’

It’s Monday morning, and as I lean towards wanting my second coffee of the morning, I come across an article about Wonder Woman as a United Nations ambassador, and start to question whether I had enough sleep last night. I didn’t read this incorrectly, the United Nations have actually elected a fictional superhero as the honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls.

My face hurts from glowering at my screen, along with the 2000+ petitioners against electing a cartoon rather than a real-life woman. Not only am I baffled that people thought a character from a comic could represent all women globally, I am also stunned that women are supporting (with the hashtag #WithWonderWoman – is this a joke?) a character who is so clearly the creation of a heteronormative, misogynistic view of the female body. I’m not going to write about Wonder Woman’s (aka Princess Diana of Thermyscira) body shape and the unrealistic expectations for women and girls, because I find the whole ‘real women’ body shaming thing very disturbing and unhealthy for society. Yes it’s rare, but there are women out there with natural size 6 waists, E-cup bras and bubble-butt, just like Wonder Woman. But that’s not the point here…

The choice to anoint Wonder Woman occurred on her 75th birthday at the launch of a social media campaign to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality. As fabulous, sexy and empowered as Wonder Woman looks, she was created by two men – Harry George Peter and William Moulton Marston – who have clearly overly-sexualised Wonder Woman, giving her a sultry pin-up look. Marston claimed to be a women’s rights advocate who was inspired by the leaders of the suffragist movement.

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UN official Maher Nasser says:

The focus [of the UN] was on her feminist background, being the first female superhero in a world of male superheroes and that basically she always fought for fairness, justice and peace.

Greg Rucka worked on Wonder Woman for DC Comics throughout the 2000s, and whilst he recently confirmed that Wonder Woman is queer (which is fantastic!), it is impossible to ignore her sexualised body and costume. Fans claim that Wonder Woman is from a feminist utopia, but she looks like a sex doll to me. There’s nothing wrong with showing off your body – I am all about showing-off what your mama gave you – but we cannot claim that this fictional character wasn’t created for the male gaze. She clearly was. Coincidentally, DC Comics is developing a new Wonder Woman comic that will be coming to a cinema screen near you in 2017………

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The most disturbing part about this bizarre idea from the UN is that they somehow were unable to find a REAL woman to become ambassador. Of course, protests ensued inside the Ecosoc chamber where the official ceremony took place. An anonymous protester said:

For something that is this important, you need a woman or a man who can speak, somebody who can travel, somebody who can champion these rights, somebody who is able to have an opinion, somebody that can be interviewed, somebody that can stand up in front of 192 member states and say this is what we would like you to do.

The ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls should be a real-life, living and breathing woman who is culturally encompassing (Wonder Woman is white, of course…) and able to raise concerns for women, globally. Perhaps that is exactly the reason why a fictional woman has been honored. Whilst to some women this might seem like a fun campaign in the right direction for young girls, to me it sounds like yet another technique to shut women up and not allow them to have any opinions. Wonder Woman isn’t real, so she can’t talk, she can’t question and she can’t uncover the truth.

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Portia Munson: The Pink Project

Frieze Art Fair 2016 (Regent’s Park) features some fantastic work, including that of Portia Munson, who explores gender in a cultural sense. The Pink Project: Table, part of the P.P.O.W. gallery (New York), was first exhibited in 1994, and updated in 2010. The installation includes Portia’s personal collection of pink objects ranging from storage, to hairbrushes, to toys, to sex toys…

The installation explores how capitalism and consumerism has pushed the colour pink into the female psyche, and Munson’s interest in the cultural connotations of pink for girls, blue for boys (which is an absolutely ridiculous and illogical ideology, by the way).

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I previously researched and wrote about Portia whilst at university, creating my Final Major Project (Your Penis Looks Weird: Campaign for Gendered Intelligence). Portia’s exploration of how we consume gender-based products was hugely influential regarding the research of this subject in my final year at university. Here’s what Portia has to say about the background inspirations for her work:

I would say I’m an environmentalist and a feminist and what I mean by that is that I think that I’m really interested in this obsession with consumption that our culture has. And so a lot of my work is really looking at that. And I was born in the beginning of the sixties and just being a woman in the world, I feel fortunate to live in this country. Gender issues are definitely something I’m concerned about. Right now, my real top interest is environmental issues and how we consume so much stuff which also translates into polluting.

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