Elle Magazine 'Rebrands' Feminism - and I think I quite like it

As soon as I heard about the project I was expecting to fully HATE the results. Three ad agencies working with three feminist groups to re-brand feminism all as a feature for November Elle Magazine.

I thought I'd find the results patronising and silly to be honest.

Feminism is not a brand to be commandeered by a womens' magazine and a load of ad agencies! I don't think people need feminism 'sold' to them. Why shouldn't men and women be equal for Gods sake? We're wasting time on these ad campaigns while the patriarchy goes un-challenged!

Also Elle Magazine are going to challenge gender stereotypes? Elle is where I LEARNED about gender stereotypes in the first place!

Women's magazines in general seem badly positioned to be 'rebranding' feminism. A lot of people would say they are in charge of promoting and perpetuating negative stereotypes of women.

I was borderline outraged. But the results were actually pretty thought provoking. Much like Downton Abbey's perpetually miserable Lady Mary - I want to hate it, but I CANT!


The first ad, a collaboration between Mother and The Feminist Times, is called 'Make them Pay' and addresses the 15% wage-gap that still exists between the genders.

I'm often lulled into a false sense of equality and it's easy to forget this is a thing. So hats off to this campaign for reminding me and anyone else with a short memory and a thin wage packet.


You can visit http://makethempay.co.uk/ and check out the disparity for yourself. It's a really simple idea that highlights a serious issue.



The second ad - Feminism for Everyone - is a collaboration between ad agency Brave and Jinan Younis - a 16 year old girl who suffered a barrage of online harassment for starting a feminist society at her school in Manchester. It uses a clever flow chart and makes a lot of sensible pro-feminist points. It also features one of the disgusting abusive tweets sent to Younis - pretty compelling stuff.

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The agency Wieden + Kennedy and The Vagenda team's effort is an ad and a hashtag #imawomanand. It aims to challenge stereotypes like temptress/whore and bimbo/career woman that women often feel compelled to identify with. This is a funny one because the Vagenda generally satirize womens magazines - it's very odd to see them working with Elle. Again I want to hate it - I just don't!

I think these three ads serve three brilliant ideas; that women should earn equal pay for equal work, that equality between the sexes is good for everyone and that women can't be reduced to a stereotype.


No matter what their origin I just can't argue with the points they make.

What do you think, is there a possibility Elle could do some good with this 'rebranding'. Or is it all just cynical exploitation of feminism to sell magazines?

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