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The Ambivalence of #Femvertising : Exploring the meeting between feminism and advertising through the audience lens

Dahlbeck Jalakas, Lisa LU (2016) MKVM13 20161
Media and Communication Studies
Department of Communication and Media
Abstract
This thesis explores the relationship between feminism and advertising from the individual woman's perspective. In-depth qualitative interviews with fourteen Swedish women have been conducted, in which a number of feminist advertisement videos have been viewed and discussed. This has been done in order to explore which audience reactions and actions that these advertisements generate; an area of this phenomenon that is underexplored.

Femvertising, feminist advertising, is a growing marketing trend utilised by large brands such as Dove, Always and Barbie, who use feminist values and female empowerment to encourage brand activism. The campaigns are dependent on audience engagement, as they rely on consumers voluntarily participating in... (More)
This thesis explores the relationship between feminism and advertising from the individual woman's perspective. In-depth qualitative interviews with fourteen Swedish women have been conducted, in which a number of feminist advertisement videos have been viewed and discussed. This has been done in order to explore which audience reactions and actions that these advertisements generate; an area of this phenomenon that is underexplored.

Femvertising, feminist advertising, is a growing marketing trend utilised by large brands such as Dove, Always and Barbie, who use feminist values and female empowerment to encourage brand activism. The campaigns are dependent on audience engagement, as they rely on consumers voluntarily participating in championing the social cause together with the brand by engaging with the content online.

There is a tendency in the existing literature to rule out this commercial use of feminism as manipulative, and as a hijacking of feminist values with the sole outcome of increasing revenue for the corporations. It is suggested that this use of feminism could damage the feminist movement, and that the female empowerment conveyed is meaningless and empty.

However, the results from this study suggest that audience reactions towards this phenomenon cannot be easily generalised. On the contrary, women extract different meanings from the advertisements, making it fit into their own individual context. They engage critically, judging the advertisements' value based on their previous knowledge of both brand, product and advertising in general.

Furthermore, the majority spoke in positive terms about sharing these videos through their social media networks online, to teach others about feminist values and with the hope of recruiting more people to the feminist cause. Thus, the videos were viewed as feminist resources.

However, the women's reactions were highly ambivalent. They balanced between a hopeful joy that feminism packaged and commodified in this way carried the potential of opening eyes of non-feminists, and a scepticism towards the commercial purpose of this strategy and towards advertising in general.

This thesis suggests that it is within this ambivalence that the understanding of femvertising is shaped. (Less)
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author
Dahlbeck Jalakas, Lisa LU
supervisor
organization
course
MKVM13 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Femvertising, feminist advertising, commodity feminism, Dove, Always, Barbie, Verizon, brand activism, empowerment, audience engagement, ambivalence, political resource, marketing
language
English
id
8872529
date added to LUP
2016-06-27 10:28:44
date last changed
2016-06-27 10:42:15
@misc{8872529,
  abstract     = {This thesis explores the relationship between feminism and advertising from the individual woman's perspective. In-depth qualitative interviews with fourteen Swedish women have been conducted, in which a number of feminist advertisement videos have been viewed and discussed. This has been done in order to explore which audience reactions and actions that these advertisements generate; an area of this phenomenon that is underexplored.

Femvertising, feminist advertising, is a growing marketing trend utilised by large brands such as Dove, Always and Barbie, who use feminist values and female empowerment to encourage brand activism. The campaigns are dependent on audience engagement, as they rely on consumers voluntarily participating in championing the social cause together with the brand by engaging with the content online.

There is a tendency in the existing literature to rule out this commercial use of feminism as manipulative, and as a hijacking of feminist values with the sole outcome of increasing revenue for the corporations. It is suggested that this use of feminism could damage the feminist movement, and that the female empowerment conveyed is meaningless and empty.

However, the results from this study suggest that audience reactions towards this phenomenon cannot be easily generalised. On the contrary, women extract different meanings from the advertisements, making it fit into their own individual context. They engage critically, judging the advertisements' value based on their previous knowledge of both brand, product and advertising in general.

Furthermore, the majority spoke in positive terms about sharing these videos through their social media networks online, to teach others about feminist values and with the hope of recruiting more people to the feminist cause. Thus, the videos were viewed as feminist resources.

However, the women's reactions were highly ambivalent. They balanced between a hopeful joy that feminism packaged and commodified in this way carried the potential of opening eyes of non-feminists, and a scepticism towards the commercial purpose of this strategy and towards advertising in general.

This thesis suggests that it is within this ambivalence that the understanding of femvertising is shaped.},
  author       = {Dahlbeck Jalakas, Lisa},
  keyword      = {Femvertising,feminist advertising,commodity feminism,Dove,Always,Barbie,Verizon,brand activism,empowerment,audience engagement,ambivalence,political resource,marketing},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Ambivalence of #Femvertising : Exploring the meeting between feminism and advertising through the audience lens},
  year         = {2016},
}