Why not? We all need a break from Ebola, Russia, Palestine, real sexism where women are being mutilated and stoned to death, the economy, the dwindling job market, and the crippling debt of our country for some good old-fashioned problems involving sexism in advertising.
Nine West has set fire to the Internet with their new ad campaign. If I had to wager a guess I’d say that this was exactly what they had hoped for. The cheeky ads feature a sassy pair of leopard print pumps (available in size 10 if anyone feels like getting me a birthday present), a black and leopard matching purse (just saying), and a pair of peep toe booties perfect for the fall. The controversy isn’t coming from the products but rather the copy that goes along with them.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I was just told to take my fabulous shoes back to the kitchen and fix a man a sandwich. At least that’s apparently how I’m supposed to react. But like any woman, I don’t do what I’m told, even when it’s the Jezebellers telling me how to feel. On one hand you’ve got more conservative folks who are upset at the joke of finding a “starter husband.” I certainly make all my life choices based on what a shoe store tells me to do; naturally that line of commentary is easily ignored because we’ve all heard it before. The more surprising upset is coming from the feminists.
It’s ironic that so many people should find these ads offensive when the last ten years or so have been spent building a new culture where young women are expected to follow the teachings of Carrie Bradshaw, Hannah Horvath, and the rest of the 3rd wave feminists who say take back the word ‘slut’ and aspire to a Samantha-level of hitting and quitting men. Why is it okay for HBO to profit from these notions but Nine West can’t?
The ads are aimed at the same age demo that “Girls” plays to, my generation, which is often painted as considerably selfish and promiscuous. When you champion the aforementioned show and its creator as the voice of this generation you can’t be surprised when brands try to play to that image. Erika Szychowski, the senior VP of Nine West marketing cites the change in ad approach to the change in culture. The company responsible for producing the ads specifically stated that “the spirit of the popular HBO series “Girls” and Amy Schumer” inspired the brand’s new direction (NY Times). These ads are a result of the world we currently live in; they are a reflection of our pop culture, music, TV, movies, and celebrities.
There have been a few blogs written on the topic suggesting that we’ve returned to the 1950s. Easy there, Don Draper. For those who have never perused old ads (it’s a hobby for some of us) I’ve provided some examples for a fun round of compare and contrast.
Well she is wearing leopard print…
Clearly hunting isn’t a new word for advertising; Nine West just has the nerve to encourage the woman to be the hunter.
At least she has some cute accessories?
At least they’re saying she doesn’t need a man anymore.
Just as offensive as telling women they can have one-night stands if they want!
You can have this instead of a walk of shame.
Yes, this paints the exact same picture as a woman who can afford expensive shoes on her own and make all life choices alone.
Can we lighten up? The Nine West ads aren’t meant to be serious, they’re meant to make an impression in the hopes of selling shoes. Personally I’m more offended by the price, who has an extra $100+ lying around to buy shoes? Maybe I should make the investment and aim for a wealthy starter husband.
Can we get back to real problems now?