We can learn a lot from advertisements, and companies use a myriad of techniques to get us to use their product. Bic, however, decided their chosen technique was blatant sexism with a hint of 1970’s misogyny.
This technique didn’t take very well, as their Women’s Day campaign, sparked outrage as it told women to “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man and work like a boss.”
It seems that Bic has a lot to tell women about how to function with their lady-brain in this male-dominated world.
Social media’s reaction to this so-called “empowering” social media ad was instantaneous, charged, clever and sometimes downright humorous.
The message offended both men and women, who took to photoshopping the image to suit 21st century ideals of gender roles.
Bic was later forced to apologise; twice, because it messed it up the first time, but I’m still left reeling as to how this horrendous ad was allowed to run in the first place.
In order to prevent this from becoming a disordered rant, let’s dissect what’s wrong with each line.
“Look like a girl”
Ah Bic, not only are you pandering to the gender-specific stigmatism that women are valued on their looks, but you also decided to sexualise children and infantilise women.
These four words tell us a whole lot about the position of women in society. According to pen manufactures, (whose talents, rather unsurprisingly, do not lie in gender equality), a woman in business cannot be successful unless she looks prepubescent. How very paedophilic.
Bic, therefore, are implying that looking underage will get you that promotion you desire. Perhaps in Toys-R-Us, but not elsewhere.
What does “looking like a girl” even mean? I’m assuming they mean a good-looking girl, as I resembled a potato around the age of 12, and I don’t believe this would fit into the narrow-minded image based ideals of Bic’s business woman.
“Act like a lady”.
Reading this line sent me back into a time of kingdoms and castles, Kings and Queen’s; it’s all a little ‘Game of Thrones’. Under this line of thinking, Bic could be telling us to be independent, feisty, and powerful and birth three dragons.
Sadly, I think this bizarre statement actually goes back to the whole “act ladylike” nugget. This is the epitome of entertaining the patriarchy, telling women to button up and shut up.
Only speaking when spoken to may not be the best career plan. Your employees may end up sitting there dumb founded as you smile brightly in your knee length skirt, willing someone to talk.
This line is tiresome and reminiscent of rigid and out-dated gender roles. It seems “equality” or “individualism” is not in Bic’s dictionary.
“Think like a man.”
Speaking of individuality, we come to the part of the message which manages to offend both genders instantaneously. Which “man” are we supposed to think like, exactly? It seems us women have the privilege of deciding which man-thoughts we want to replicate, at least. This sweeping statement serves to dehumanise all men into a same-brained robot.
What on earth happened to thinking like ourselves, as unique and individual human beings?
Bic are attempting to place the restricting straight-jacket of gender roles on men too, but let’s forget about them for a while. I mean, this is for Women’s Day, after all.
Women are not inferior to men, and neither are their brains. This ad is suggesting that you cannot excel in business as a woman, because our level of intellect doesn’t match up to a man’s. I wish I could convey how ridiculous this is.
This statement leaves me almost lost for words, but this could be because of my silly woman brain.
“Work like a boss.”
This is quite possibly the most confusing, as I’m not sure if they are talking about a cooperate boss, or referring to someone who runs things in the hood.
Anyhow, the word holds quite negative connotations, of a pompous, hard-ass who doesn’t have a life outside work and wields not respect from employees. Bic are once again proving how behind they really are, by reverting back to a traditional role of “boss”.
I’d prefer to work as an inspiration, a leader and as myself.
Let’s cut Bic some slack with this one and allow them the benefit of the doubt with using the term. Instead, consider how they are suggesting women don’t already work as “bosses”. I guess this is because they are too busy having babies and shopping.
Look, act, think, and work how you want to. Learn, grow and react to the world around you. Just don’t do it with a Bic pen in hand.