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'Feminine Mystique' Remains Unanswered 50 Years On

Stashed in: Women

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But we're not a subset. We're the norm.

In 1963, Friedan wrote, "Women are the chief customers of American business ... women wield 75% of the purchasing power in America."

That hasn't changed, either. Women are still the majority purchasers in many product sectors and the majority influencers of purchases (including in sectors like cars and electronics). Women are the majority of users of social media; the majority of gamers; the majority of people expressing themselves online.

And yet the majority of people creating advertising that targets women are male (only 3% of ad agency creative directors in the U.S. are female). The majority of people deciding the gold standard of creativity, appeal and effectiveness of that advertising are male (as anyone who's played "hunt the woman" in an advertising-awards-jury photo knows). And the majority if not nearly all the people leading and managing the holding companies and agencies -- in other words, the firms that drive our businesses -- are male.

That's the third thing that hasn't changed since Friedan's day. We, the dominant consumer, are still all too often reflected back to ourselves through the male gaze. We are still being shown images that men believe we aspire to -- or should aspire to.

One more generation and things will be different. Things are already changing!

Would you actually WANT more ads targeted to you?

I'll take Ketel One over Swiffer any day of the week.

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