The New Feminism…
The floodgates have opened!
It may sound like a trite conversation opener, but this time it’s true: it’s been a crazy few weeks here at SWAAY. Last Friday I pitched my company at the Million Dollar Women Summit, created by bosslady Julia Pimsleur, in front of a few hundred female entrepreneurs and investors. I told the audience a bit about my background and my vision when I launched SWAAY. As many of you know this all started when I was asked by a judge during a beauty pageant whether I would rather be smart or beautiful. Although I had practiced many potential questions for many hours, this one made me pause. Why did I have to choose? Why does any woman have to choose? After winning the pitch competition’s first-place prize, I realized that the support of this community forming around me is helping us reach new heights. I couldn’t be more appreciative of everyone’s enthusiasm and support. It truly means the world to me.
While events like the Million Dollar Women Summit bring passionate women and authentic founders’ stories to the forefront of the conversation, we’ve noticed a slew of corporations and media companies who are adopting questionable female-focused slants to their marketing messaging. Whether or not these themes are coming from an authentic desire for empowerment remains to be seen. “Female” may be the hot new buzzword of today, but what is it actually doing for equality? We continue to see examples of sexism in the media (Daily Mail, we are looking at you and your “Legs-It” cover), from our government (did anyone even listen to Amal Clooney’s moving speech at the UN?), and in our everyday lives (No, Mr. Investor, I didn’t wear this pencil skirt for you).
“How many stories do you read about women that either reference their appearance or clothing somewhere in the article?,” gender strategist Jeffery Tobias Halter told SWAAY last week. “You never read ‘John was particularly dapper in his blue suit.’”
Perhaps this new “feminism” is a response to the fact that companies have caught onto the spending power women actually hold, or perhaps it’s a thirst for easy clicks, shares, profit and viral news coverage. A company may be sponsoring a flashy female-focused conference or running a commercial series that features young girls talking about equality, but how many women sit on that company’s board?
Here at SWAAY, we are more determined than ever to continue talking about the real issues behind the pretty, encouraging words and sometimes empty promises. Instead, we want to share the stories of those people who are doing the work quietly, rather than those riding the buzzword bandwagon. Anyone can say they are a feminist, but who is really acting on it?