firedupfeminist
For as long as there’s been a mainstream feminist movement, there have been corporations eager to capitalize on women’s desire for empowerment. And simply saying men and women should be treated equally isn’t the slightest bit risky in an era when the economy demands that nearly all women work outside the home and the biggest pop stars in America embrace the term feminist. But empowerment conferences are less a product of this friendly brand of modern feminism than they are the result of changing media business models and the rise of superficial corporate do-gooderism. Consumers are so wary of traditional advertising that one of the only ways for brands to make an end-run around skepticism is to claim, “Hey, we’re doing some good here.” As Unilever has learned with all the free press its “body-positive” Dove ads have gotten, women’s empowerment is a great theme for conscientious advertising — Bitch Magazine co-founder Andi Zeisler calls it “empowertising.” You-go-girl ads appeal to a broad demographic, but unlike championing, say, stricter environmental regulation, they put the onus for change on women themselves, not corporations or society.