Why the Gillette and Nike Ads are so Important for this Women’s History Month

March marks the month of Women’s History month, and with this time dedicated to celebrating women and their accomplishments, I thought that it has been interesting seeing the latest feminist advertisements that companies have been releasing. Although some have perceived these ads to be radically liberal, these ads reveal that our society is moving towards embracing gender equality.

If you haven’t seen it already, the Gillette “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” commercial targets toxic masculinity and encourages men to challenge traditional mindsets that “boys will be boys.” This ad does recognize that some men are already acting in ways that promote equality. But, in order to fight against bullying, harassment, and the toxic masculinity of our culture, “some is not enough.” In order to create lasting change, a larger movement is necessary.

When I saw this ad for the first time, I actually started to tear up because I thought that it was sending such an important message. This ad did receive some backlash from individuals who thought that it had gone too far. Maybe because I loved the ad, or because I am a feminist, I was shocked at just how controversial some people thought the ad was. Some turned to throwing their Gillette products in the toilet because they were so outraged by the message. This extreme reaction reveals that, as a society, we still have a long way to go until we embrace ideals of gender equality and reject toxic masculinity.

The fact that the Gillette ad isn’t alone, however, indicates that feminist ideas are becoming more commonplace. The Nike “Dream Crazier” ad targets the double standards that women, and especially women in athletics, face every day. This ad encourages women to dream big and push the limits that have traditionally been in place.

Unlike its “Dream Crazy” ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, this Nike ad has not received much backlash. Although the topic doesn’t seem to be quite as controversial, this movement of combining social justice with advertisement shows that consumers, and our society as a whole, are becoming more socially conscious.

The “Dream Crazier” and the “We Believe” ads have shown that companies have started to learn from the message of the “Me Too” movement and the current feminist movement. By being more socially aware of cultural ideologies and movements, these companies may be capitalizing on our desires for social reform. Yet, as these companies embrace the ideals of gender equality, our society will, hopefully, move towards a wide-scale adoption of these values.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has not been ratified throughout the United States, nor has the federal government ratified the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of the Discrimination of Women (CEDAW). Despite the lack of top-down governmental action in the pursuit of gender equality, the current feminist movements indicate that our society is leaning towards becoming more equal.

This March, I encourage you to be aware of the complex issues facing women throughout the country. Realize the impacts of toxic masculinity, break gender barriers, and learn about the current legislation concerning women’s rights. Although we have come a long way from 1919, when the 19th amendment was first ratified, we still have a long way to go to truly reach gender equality.

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4