Honestly? A women's edition? Do we really have to? Yes, we do. Unfortunately. Okay, the times when we women were sold "women's gold "* so that we wouldn't go for the boss's throat, smooth out the irritated husband's mood with a horizontal insertion and bounce through our housewife and secretary existence "full of life and strong" - and slightly cheesed off - are thankfully long gone. So are the days when we went into ecstatic states over a new washing machine, or all Mann had to do was blow some cigarette smoke in our faces to make us compliant.
When we (have to) criticize the portrayal of women in advertising today, it is often no longer about obvious sexism. We're talking about what's communicatively cavorting between the lines: the woman who still likes to appear in the luxury food sector (children's milk slice replaces women's gold), in the household and children's equipment sector, or as a decorative accessory. The serious bank advisor, for example, is still often a tie and jacket wearer in 2018. Unless it's about gender issues - yeeeh, we get to do that!
Of course, today in advertising, as in life, you can find completely different images of women. Role models beyond role clichés. And yet: "Whereas in the commercials from 1996 a good one in two women still appear smiling lasciviously, lolling or breathing seductively, in 2016 the proportion is still 30 percent", this sentence comes from a study (p. 6) from 2017, which ultimately led to this "women's issue". Hey, let's toast the fact that only a third of all women still loll about, smile or breathe seductively in television commercials and forget about having "careers." You can tell, these issues kind of bug me. No, actually not the issues, more the fact that there is still a need to talk - and more importantly, a need to act. Gender still plays a role where it shouldn't.
Talent, skill, passion and enthusiasm are individual attributes that are not controlled by X or Y chromosomes. We all know that, don't we? And yet we are not yet in the situation where these "women's issues", more correctly "society issues", are no longer.
Women still advertise detergents, conjure up "something delicious for lunch" with the help of some powder peppered with E-numbers - in a tight fitness outfit, but of course with intact make-up and without a drop of sweat. Or they stumble into the kitchen in the evening on 10-centimetre heels - costume, velvet smile, dynamic. Paper bags with obligatory leeks in one arm. On the other, a smiling, clean toddler. All thanks to a certain deodorant. WTF! I'll spare you my personal version of this situation to visually depict here.
Is advertising simply a mirror of society? Or is what we perceive as "normal" in society so strongly shaped by advertising? I am convinced that both have their part to play in the fact that we still have to talk about the role of women. And that of men. An improvement of circumstances in favour of women must not take place to the disadvantage of men - certainly not under the guise of equal rights. Otherwise there will have to be a "man's gold" at some point. I definitely like the idea of having an after-work beer together better.
Equal right means equal duty. Or in less old-fashioned terms: a balanced distribution of tasks and a willingness to compromise are called for. And how would it be if we went a bit further and stopped talking about men, women and patent remedies? Because there are no such things! Conditions can and must be improved, without question. But the conditions must then also be used, and by each person in the way that suits him or her. A bit more of a "if you want to, you can" mentality wouldn't hurt either. And it certainly doesn't hurt to have role models. Like, in this case, the many great women in this issue who show: It can be done!
*Women's Gold was over 16 percent by volume and was banned in 1981 because it contained aristolochic acids, which are considered to promote cancer and damage the kidneys.
Nora Dämpfle, Editor Werbewoche