A recent WSJ article featured a story about Madonna Badger, co-founder and CCO of Badger & Winters, a New York based advertising agency. Ms. Badger has recently vowed that her agency will stop objectifying women in their advertisements. She is the frontrunner of this movement and hopes it will gain traction, explaining that she feels she must do this to honor her daughters, who died in a tragic fire that overtook the family’s home.
Badger adores her job. She also admits she was once a contributor to the problem; however, Badger feels that can no longer participate in advertising that objectifies women. It is known that this type of message, which degrades women, has an immensely negative impact, particularly on young women, by devastating women’s self-esteem, and forcing them to question their self-worth.
To help plead her case against the objectification of women, Badger created the video, “We Are #WomenNotObjects.” It debuted two weeks ago and has more than 775,000 views. This video compiles popular advertisements that range from luxury, brand name designers like Tom Ford, to fast food chains such as Burger King. The advertisements may endorse very different products, yet in each, the women are featured as controllable, sexualized props to sell product.
We find Badger’s decision to abstain from objectification and promotion of the same commendable. We hope that more agencies and clients do in fact follow suit. However, this being considered a progressive position in 2016 is a still a sad commentary for women. We believe it should be the standard.
There is more technology than ever before and more social and societal issues, which provide plenty of material for advertising efforts, yet the industry still thrives and relies heavily on sexism and objectification. Why is this? Is it the classic “sex sells,” or is it more about misogyny and the large percentage of men who still dominate the creative positions in the advertising industry? Although no one knows the true answer to this question, all are entitled to speculate and continuously question until hopefully the situation changes.