Having just suffered through the deplorable choices of costumes for girls this Halloween (sexy kitten, anyone?), I’m now bracing myself for the onslaught of holiday ads by companies like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel whose marketing strategy appears to be devised by a middle-aged man with a middle-school mindset.
You know what I mean: those ubiquitous ads of barely-clad bodies of barely-legal women that fill shop windows, magazines and the Internet. The kind you hope will repel your daughters—and your sons—instead of lure them inside.
But hey, sex sells, right? That’s what we’ve been told. But some women are fighting back against this notion.
Missrepresentation.org, the organization behind Miss Representation, a documentary film that explores the negative portrayals of women in the media, is launching a Twitter campaign to send companies a message: we’re not buying it.
The organization is encouraging people to post on Twitter a description or picture of a product or ad that misrepresents or degrades women and follow it with the hashtag, #notbuyingit. (For example, “The ads displayed at Abercrombie & Fitch are degrading to women. I wanted this sweater but now I’m #notbuyingit”). If you’re not on Twitter, you can send missrepresentation.org an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) about what you’ve seen and why it bothers you, and they will post it for you.
Will the campaign have an effect? Possibly. In 2005, Abercrombie & Fitch pulled some of its t-shirts off the shelves after a Pennsylvania women and girls foundation protested the shirts’ sexist messages (ex., “Who needs brains when you have these?”). But the company’s ads, with their provocatively posed young men and women, still have a long way to go (and now even the boys are being sexed up—check out this photo of the bare-chested boy on the A&F Kids home page—yes, this is the kids page!).
Nevertheless, I plan on using my Twitter account to register my discontent with these companies’ unhealthy messages. Perhaps if enough people do the same, they’ll finally get the message.