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Mind, Body, Health Empowerment with Annette Franks & The Human Form

This Saturday, September 20th, The Human Form will be hosting a workshop featuring Annette Franks, on Integrating Mind, Body, Health and Success.  All proceeds will benefit The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio!

Michelle Ladd, owner of the Human Form, shares more about the event:

Who Is Annette Franks?

Annette Franks, M.Ed., LPC, CWC is a Corporate Wellness Coach and Licensed Professional Counselor. She has over 30 years of counseling and consulting experience working with individuals, couples, families and corporations. Annette’s background in Integrative Medicine and Holistic Health Practices combined with her counseling and consulting experience make her uniquely equipped to help us balance our lifestyle, become aware of our behavior patterns and decipher the signals our bodies are sending us.   Her utilization of both eastern and western health philosophies incorporates the best of both worlds.

How does The Human Form connect to The Women’s Fund?

We stand behind the Women’s Funds belief that empowering women and girls impacts entire families and uplifts entire communities.  They may focus on enhancing economic self sufficiency for women, leadership for women and lifestyle skills for girls; while we empower them by building strong, confident bodies, inside and out.  But the result – transforming lives – is the same.

The Human Form is built on the power of community – we strive to create a culture based on support and guidance that challenges our members to bring their best every day.  We are proud to combine forces with The Women’s Fund, to create social change throughout central Ohio.

Is this event beneficial for men and women?

While men and women alike may feel the stressors of their daily lives, they may experience them differently, and for different reasons.  Coming to this realization while listening to Annette over the years has changed the way I communicate in my relationship, with my family, with my friends and with my co-workers.  Relationships is one of Annette’s specialties, and “ah-ha” moments in this department are common in her audience.  While the seminar is absolutely beneficial for both men and women, it would be a great experience for those in relationships to attend together, to both be a part of building their healthier, more balance lifestyle.

How does what Annette is speaking about relate to what you do at Human Form?

At The Human Form, we consider ourselves a “holistic health and fitness studio”.  While the word “holistic” has been thrown around a lot lately, to us it relates to the way in which we encourage our clients to become healthier – taking the whole body, inside and out, into account. While exercise and nutrition are certainly important factors in weight loss, increased energy, athletic performance, injury prevention, etc., we find that it is the lifestyle as a whole that allows people to achieve the greatest amount of success in improving their overall health.

Topics like optimal sleeping patterns, relationships, living in the present moment, listening to your body and having a personal vision can all be road blocks along the path to optimal health and vitality.  Annette does a great job of explaining the importance of each of these areas and many more, helping to create more balance in our lives.

What is your connection to Annette?

Annette runs a week-long life enrichment retreat in Costa Rica each year.  Looking ways to enhance our members’ lives beyond exercise and nutrition, and for my own personal growth, I attended in February 2013.  Separated from work and family obligations, without technology, on top of a mountain in Costa Rica, we listened to Annette talk about “Balancing Mind, Body and Spirit” by day and did yoga, tai chi and salsa danced by night.

The experience was just the piece I’d been missing.  We coach our members on improving their posture, effective workouts for improving body composition, executing movements with perfect form, injury prevention, eating high quality foods, hydrating well, etc.; but the passion and practical application Annette brought to the lifestyle portion of our holistic model was something I could not wait to share.

 

To learn more about Annette,

please visit her website: annettefranks.com

 

For more information on registration, location and details on the workshop, visit:

http://humanformfitness.com/hff-hosted-events/ 

 

Hope to see you Saturday!

 

human form

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Emily Johnson, Pure Change Agent

Emily Johnson is a Change Agent – encouraging and motivating an entire community to find their strength. With 3 Pure Barre locations she is spreading inspiration throughout Columbus, and building a network of support for all women.

Read why she was inspired to start her own business, how she is a leader, and what makes her a Change Agent:

1. What inspired you to open Pure Barre?

Everything! The technique, the workout, the music and most importantly the camaraderie created amongst women. It’s so empowering!

Pure Barre had me at my very first “tuck”. (Well, maybe the second, because let’s face it… that first class is brutal!) But after I left class, I immediately knew I found exactly what I was looking for… a chance to be a part of something bigger. And although I was on a completely different career path at the time, the chance to change lives for the better drew me in, and I couldn’t resist an incredible opportunity to be part of an amazing network of strong, smart and fun women!

So after I decided to open a studio (or three), I’ve never looked back. I couldn’t be happier I took a leap of faith and brought Pure Barre to Columbus. Not only has it created a way to connect women while becoming a little better and a little stronger than they were the day before, but it’s also helped me become a little better every day too… Pure Barre truly does changes lives!

2. Why do you feel this Pure Give challenge is important to the community?

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and Pure Barre are the perfect fit! Our studios are filled with strong, beautiful, smart and thriving women all bonded together by a common goal. It’s all about self-improvement and motivating one another to stick with it, and stay strong. This is our chance to help women and girls unleash their full potential within the central Ohio community by educating them on the ways they can take action and promote change.

3. As a woman business owner, what has been a pivotal moment for you?

I have pivotal moments every single day. But a recent moment that stands out was when a client recently got diagnosed with breast cancer. Even after her diagnosis, she continues to come to Pure Barre because it helps her stay strong both mentally and physically while she undergoes the long treatment process. She has a wonderful support system of fellow clients and staff all cheering her on while she battles her illness with a positive attitude and determination to beat it. She’s a truly amazing and brave woman, and an inspiration to all of us who are lucky enough to be around her. And to me, that’s what it’s all about… supporting one another through the good times and the bad to be stronger.

4. Who has been a change agent woman in your life and why?

There are so many who have been change agents in my life! First and foremost, my mother. She was a stay-at-home mom until my brother and I reached high school, and then at nearly 50 years old, she decided to follow her passion and open a greenhouse. She showed me anything was possible.

My grandma also played an important role in my life. She has always been so compassionate and caring; she literally wouldn’t even kill an ant! She taught me to appreciate all walks of life and celebrate the differences in all of us.

The last woman who really stands out is Wendy Gomez. She was my mentor in college, and owned a gymnastics and fitness gym for children. She showed me you can do it all; she has 5 children and runs a successful, fun business and still supports her community. Talk about superwomen!

5. What advice would you give to women and girls in our community?

YOU tell people what your worth is.

Don’t ever cut yourself short… or let anyone else try to! Continue to learn, grow and better yourself each and every day to create the best and most meaningful life. If you do this, you’ll not only find self-satisfaction, but you’ll inspire others to be the best they can be as well.

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Through September 22nd stop by Pure Barre and support The Women’s Fund, learn more here:

https://www.crowdrise.com/PureGive

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Written by Emily Johnson, Pure Barre owner 

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Life Is What You Make It

140903 Peter Buffet

Mark your calendars for September 24th for a night of great music and conversation focused on empowerment with Peter Buffett. The Emmy Award-winning musician, philanthropist, social activist, and author is visiting Columbus next week and promises a wonderful and insightful evening.

Peter’s performance is a live, multimedia event with music, audience interaction, personal anecdotes, and video clips of philanthropic work. The multi-faceted performer has had his music featured in the Oscar winning film, Dances with Wolves, as well as 500 Nations, and has collaborated with esteemed artists such as Akon. Peter’s philanthropic accomplishments span across several different creative outlets, from songs to a New York Times Best-Selling Book, Life is What You Make of It. Peter’s desire and activism for social change resonates with each project the artist pours himself into.

We are looking forward to a discussion on women’s philanthropy and Peter’s foundation, NoVo: a non-profit organization dedicated to giving young women and girls around the world more possibilities and opportunities. Peter co-chairs the organization with his wife, and the couple believes that when girls are supported, educated, and shown their own innate power, everyone benefits. NoVo is dedicated to empowering adolescent girls, ending violence against girls and women, advancing social and emotional learning, and promoting local living economies. NoVo reaches across the globe, advocating for women and girls domestically and internationally.

Peter’s advocacy for gender equality along with his creative talents makes for an exciting night and we hope to see you there!

What: Life Is What You Make It: A Concert & Conversation with Peter Buffett

When: Wed, Sept 24, 2014 at 7:30pm

Where: Weigel Hall & Auditorium, Building 355, 1866 College Rd

 

Written by Rebecca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

Tickets: Free

Learn more about Peter here: peterbuffett.com

Learn more about Peter’s foundation here: novofoundation.org

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30 Years of Saving & Changing Lives

Amethyst is Celebrating 30 Years of Saving Lives, Changing Lives and Reuniting Families!

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This Saturday, September 13, from 8:00am-10:00am, please join us at Wolfe Park in Columbus, Ohio for our 4th Annual 5K walk/run for recovery, “A Step in the Right Direction.” This event  is to raise awareness and support for the women and children of Amethyst, who were once homeless or at risk and now live each day choosing a life of recovery.  These women have faced many challenges, when the disease of addiction is coupled with homelessness; it is even more difficult for a woman to locate treatment, family services and housing. Amethyst provides safe and sober housing, for approximately 150 women and 60 children each year, along with long-term, family-focused and gender-specific treatment to homeless women in Central Ohio.

Rally your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers for a morning of healthy fun! There will be music refreshments and a small awards ceremony for runner’s fastest time and highest fundraising efforts. Register for $25 to walk or $30 to run (with timing chip) and get a FREE event t-Shirt. Awards will be presented to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place runners in both the male and female categories and for the top individual fundraiser and the largest team. Sign Up Today!

Please visit www.walkforrecovery.org to register and to find sponsorship opportunities.

If you have any questions, please contact Nanon Morrison at 614.221.7293 or nmorrison@amethyst-inc.org.

Thank you for your support!

 

Written by Nanon Morrison, Amethyst’s Development Director

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Supporting instead of struggling in the workplace

What does it feel like to be a woman in a powerful position?

Is it rewarding? Difficult? Challenging? What about threatening?

Our society breeds a culture of competition between females, regardless of the task: personally, socially, professionally, and everything in between. With all the pressure it would seem that it’s engrained in us to feel threatened, whether we are in positions of power or not. Moreover, women in power feel an even more heightened threat, because women are taught that attaining such a position in a career is unlikely and when they do attain this position they should view others as rivalry, rather than as a resource.

The term “Queen Bee” typically refers to a positive female role: a strong, powerful woman who, through hard work and dedication, achieves an esteemed position. But what we seem to ignore when attributing the title to a woman is the negative connotations associated with the term. Queen Bee also implies competition and supremacy; it lacks other ‘bees,’ suggesting there can only be one powerful woman within a certain field or job title.

So let’s change this outlook. Let’s eliminate the term Queen Bee and start advocating for more women in powerful positions and destroy the archetype that powerful women can’t collaborate with one another to produce an even better outcome.  Celebrating, enriching, and empowering women in the workforce will improve the overall performance and functionality of a company. Queen Bees, as Sallie K. said, are a thing of the past: “But the days of the Queen Bee are ending. And that’s great news. It’s great news because business does not have to be a zero-sum game, resulting in “winners” and “losers.” The economic pie can grow by further engaging women in business.” Powerful women need to celebrate and support other women in the workforce, capitalizing on the enriching quality of strong female employees in a professional setting.  In the past, as women began to enter powerful positions, a Queen Bee attitude must have been a necessity. With such little room for women’s professional success earlier in history, it makes sense for the woman who worked and devoted her life to a title such as CEO safeguards her position. But with every year and every political, economic, and social advancement for women’s philanthropy, women should recognize the potential with their colleagues.

I find myself asking; why not eradicate the term Queen Bee completely?

When women work together and support each other something far greater is produced than a Queen Bee. Celebrating and challenging the women you work with involves something more encompassing, something that resonates with every single woman: growth, productivity,  and efficiency. That can start with you. Whether you’re a CEO or a minimum-wage employee, as women we can all help the cause to empower working women. Show them compassion and strength, wisdom and courage, a leader and confidant. When women work together, great things are accomplished with purpose and energy that is unequivocally genuine.

Next time you are introduced to a woman of professional power use her as a resource, as a teacher who can show you the facets of a business and the hard work and determination it takes to achieve such a position. But also ask her how she came to that position: ask her who helped her, who gave her advice and wisdom, who made sure her efforts were celebrated? In those conversations we can see just how uplifting and influential one woman can be to the next.

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Read more about this subject here:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140819114005-174077701-queen-bee-rip-and-why-it-s-great-for-business

Written by Becca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

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See you next Wednesday!

Register today and join us on September 10th at Columbus Metropolitan Club for an engaging conversation with Riki Wilchinsone of TIME Magazine’s “100 Civic Innovators for the 21′st Century” hosted in partnership with The Columbus Foundation.

 

http://bit.ly/XuMbNB
Use code word: WFCO for guest rate

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Join us September 20

Join us Saturday, September 20th with Human Form Fitness LLC and Annette Franks for a morning focused on of Mind-Body-Health Education, Self-Exploration and Personal Empowerment. Funds raised will be going to The Women’s Fund!

Learn more here and register today:
http://humanformfitness.com/hff-hosted-events/

human form

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AC campaign

 

Change Starts With Me.

Me, myself and I.

That’s who.

I will take a stand.

I am a force, strong and capable.

I can make a difference. I know I will.

I am the Women’s Fund. Change starts with me.

 

When you invest in the Women’s Fund, you are investing in the opportunity to create lasting change. http://bit.ly/WFCOchange

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NEW Leadership Engages & Inspires Potential

This summer I attended the NEW Leadership Ohio conference, a week-long seminar hosted by Ohio State’s Glenn School of Public Affairs with support from the university’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department and the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. NEW Leadership targets college women of any major who have interest but not necessarily experience in politics. The program, designed to educate women about the political process and teach them to become effective leaders, is a product of Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). CAWP, recognized as the leading source of research and data about American women’s political participation, aims to increase understanding about women’s participation in politics and government as well as women’s influence and leadership in public life.

Throughout the week, speakers ranging from state congresswomen to political organizers emphasized that the reason women are grossly underrepresented in public office—women hold just under 20% of seats in the 115th (current) Congress and just over 20% of statewide executive positions—is simply that women do not run for public office. In a 2013 study published by American University’s School of Public Affairs entitled “Girls Just Wanna Not Run,” Jennifer L. Lawless of American University and Richard L. Fox of Loyola Marymount University explore the tendency of women, in comparison to their male counterparts, to avoid running for office.

While Lawless and Fox’s sample of 1,020 male and 1,097 female college students were equally likely to grow up in politically conscious homes, the data collected indicate that parents of male students and parents of female students differed in encouraging their children to pursue politics as a career. The connection between parental encouragement and individual motivation is significant: 50% of individuals whose mothers encouraged them to run for office said that they definitely planned to run for office, in comparison to only 3% of respondents whose mothers did not encourage them to run. The effects of paternal encouragement are similar.

The most troubling element of Lawless and Fox’s findings, however, is that young women are less likely than young men to judge themselves to be qualified for a future career in politics. Men in Lawless and Fox’s study were 60% more likely to view themselves as “very qualified” to run for office while women were more than twice as likely to view themselves as “not at all qualified,” despite comparable educational backgrounds and professional successes.

NEW Leadership takes an important step towards empowering women and changing their perceptions of their abilities. Hearing the perspectives of successful women and watching them in action on the Ohio Statehouse floor provided college-age women, like myself, with assured, confident role models. Prior to NEW Leadership, I had no conception of politicians other than the older white men who constitute an overwhelming majority of our nation’s government. But the many women we met involved with state and local politics, from those just beginning a race to well-respected state representatives, fulfilled roles in which I could see myself excelling. Women who lead, and lead well, exist. We should celebrate them, and we—young girls and young women—should aspire to be like them.

Written by Shannon Fillingim, New Leadership 2014 Graduate 

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140825 womens equailty

In 2014, as a 21 year old woman, I often take for granted the privileges the women who came before me made possible. Each year, or actually multiple times a year, I am able to drive to the polls and cast my opinion by voting. More importantly, I have the power to choose if I even want to vote. If I had been born 100 years earlier, I would be struggling for this privilege. My voice would be diminished or nonexistent because I would not have the choice to vote. But today, in America, it’s not a struggle- it’s an option.

August 26th marks Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the date in 1920 that women’s right to vote officially became a part of our constitution as the 19th Amendment. Women worked for over 72 years to make the right to vote a possibility for all women. Iconic women, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, worked together as change agents in the women’s suffrage movement to make this difference.

As I reflect on this day, I think about part of the mission of The Women’s Fund – to “amplify the voices of women and girls.” Since I wasn’t born 100 years ago, there are many other ways to amplify my voice. I can be an advocate or donate; however, the women in 1848 understood the importance to secure the fundamental right to vote as a citizen and a woman. It is a foundational aspect of our country, and without it, women’s voices would be devalued overall. In 1920, women’s voices were validated and were finally represented as equal. They helped amplify my voice now.

In 1971, Representative Bella Abzug of New York pushed Congress to pass a Joint Resolution of Congress to make today Women’s Equality Day. She wanted to remember the efforts of the women suffrage movement, but also to draw attention to the ongoing efforts towards complete equality each year. Bell Abzug recognized that women took a huge step toward equality with the 19th Amendment; nonetheless, she realized there is more work to do. 43 years later, Women’s Equality Day brings attention to the current efforts to bring equality.  An important effort in the past few months and year is the awareness of smaller gender equalities that still exist in our daily lives. This includes how we speak about or to women, how others portray them, and more. It is important to bring awareness to people for change to start occurring.

Recently The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s Womenomics Report brought awareness to an issue I had never truly thought about. It informed me that women who work a full-time job earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.  This research causes me to think about how in a year, I will graduate, find a job, and need to pay bills as well as my college loans. I wonder how I will be able to succeed financially compared to a male in a similar position. With this difference, I might not be able to prosper as quickly without the financial security that my male counterpart is given. It also leads me to wonder if my potential negotiation capacity will be stunted as a result of being a woman. Because I am now actively thinking about these inequalities, I am able to ponder what actual change can be made.  What can we do to create this change? How can we all continue to use our voices to keep the momentum going?

So, today is the day to bring women together to work towards this goal. Now that many men and women are aware of the inequalities that women still face on a daily basis, I believe there is a call to action to come together and solve these issues. I celebrate Women’s Equality Day by looking back to the strides that have been made, looking around me now at the inequalities we still face, and looking toward a future where women celebrate true equality. I am not only gracious for the equality previous women have given me, but also I feel challenged to give complete equality to the generations after me. I feel empowered by my voice, and I want all women to feel that way whether that is through equal pay or the right to voice their opinion. The women before us have given us a voice, and we should give the women after us the chance to reflect on our efforts and push women’s equality even further.

Susan B. Anthony once said, “Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.”

This must still be our war cry for all women need to educate others on the inequalities that still exist, agitate passion in both men and women, and organize true change. All women must work together to make real change happen.

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Written by Meredith Priess, Women’s Fund Intern

Womenomics & Paternity Leave

 “While an ever-rising share of men say they want to have this kind of time with a new child, Chandran is among a lucky few who actually do. In the U.S., paternity leave is a luxury. It’s the only developed nation that doesn’t guarantee paid time off, even for new mothers.”

#WomenomicsReport

More Dads Want Paternity Leave. Getting It Is A Different Matter. Read more here: http://goo.gl/sK3fXH

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Raising Voices, Raising Awareness

Femme Fest

 

August 29th through the 31st be a part of a local music event to highlight women’s voices and talents. FeMMeFest’s tagline is a “loose collection of musically themed events” and it will be taking place around the bars and music venues of central Columbus including Kafe Kerouac, Seventh Son Brewing Co., and Ace of Cups.

FeMMeFest is making a name for itself by bringing local and nationally-acclaimed musical acts such as: Saintseneca, Sarah Cooperider, Dead Set Ready, The Girls!, and The Ferals. This event not only seeks to fight the negative and violent views associated with women in today’s society, but also wishes to replace these views with a more positive and productive image. Organizers of this brand new event, Raeghan Savage, Ryan Vile, Sarah Moglia, and Laddan S, want to provide Columbus with a weekend-long event aimed at empowering and uplifting women in our community.  FeMMeFest originated July of this year in response to the booking of the controversial singer R. Kelly by the Fashion Meets Music Festival. Outraged by R. Kelly’s booking and the singer’s troubled background, local Columbus organizers started a festival honoring women’s integral part within a city’s community.

One of the band members of The Girls!, Raeghan Buchanan, spoke with Columbus Monthly about her enthusiasm for the upcoming festival: “We wanted to use it to talk about issues that we care about and want everyone to know about.” The efforts of the community to support this event speak volumes of Columbus citizens and their support of positive change. This event will also be raising funds and awareness for the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, “a statewide coalition that advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.a statewide coalition that advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.a statewide coalition that advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.”

What better way to advocate for a safer, better portrayal of women in today’s culture than with a music festival? FeMMeFest is a great example of how a community can ban together in the face of adversity to empower and strengthen women.  Our events will raise funds for Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, a statewide coalition that advocates for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors and empowers communities to prevent sexual violence.To learn more about this event and all of the musical guests and venues, make sure to like FeMMeFest on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FemmeFestColumbus or, visit their website, femmefest.org.  We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Written by Rebecca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

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What is the impact of gender on society?

Register today and join us on September 10th at Columbus Metropolitan Club for an engaging conversation with Riki Wilchins, one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Civic Innovators for the 21′st Century” hosted in partnership with The Columbus Foundation.

http://bit.ly/XuMbNB
Use code word: WFCO for guest rate

 

140806 GenderNormCMC

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Feminism & Advertising: Ploy or Productive?

You always remember your first sexist commercial. I was 13 when I first faced an advertisement for Axe Body Spray. In the short commercial, a young average-looking man applied Axe and was suddenly flanked by dozens of rapturous and beautiful women, dressed like young schoolgirls in tiny plaid skirts and tight fitting button down shirts. In less than half a minute, I got the message: Sexism sells and empowering women is not good advertising.

Unfortunately, this trend is not specific to products targeted at men. Even those targeted to women often rely on sexist tropes and negative body imagery to sell their products. When was the last time you saw a commercial for house cleaning products that didn’t feature a mother cleaning up after children? It is a realistic scenario, to be sure. But as far as I know, men need paper towels too. We all could probably do with a few more paper towels.

The beauty industry may be the guiltiest of all as cosmetics commercials often prey directly on women’s insecurities to market their products. Commercials won’t say “Use this cream because it will keep your skin hydrated and healthy.” Instead, they say, “This will reduce unsightly wrinkles and make you look younger.” Rather than encouraging its consumers to feel beautiful in their own skin, these advertisements usually capitalize on the fear of not being beautiful enough.

However, a recent shift in advertising has defied the usual, hackneyed advertising ploys. Companies like Pantene, Verizon, CoverGirl, and Always are starting to use feminist ideas to market their products. These commercials are built on the foundation of self-empowerment and motivate women to stand up for themselves, defy old-fashioned gender roles, and reclaim femininity as something powerful.

Pantene’s most recent contribution explores the idea that women say “sorry” more than men do. The commercial shows a multicultural group of women apologizing in different situations. In a business meeting, one woman says, “Sorry I have a question.” In another, a man sirs next to a woman and bumps her arm and she apologizes. The advertisement urges women to stop apologizing for not knowing something or for needing help or for simply just existing.

But controversy has sprung with the final image of this commercial. It ends with a close up of the Pantene logo because, after all, it is a commercial for haircare products. The fact that the advertisements with feminist messages are marketing ploys raises many questions on the quality and intention of the commercials’ messages. Verizon may be encouraging women to pursue STEM careers, but this message flashes on our TV screens to convince us to use Verizon. CoverGirl’s #GirlsCan campaign also comes from a makeup company that is part of an industry that tells women that they need mascara and lipstick to be beautiful.

The big question remains: Can a haircare company tell women to stop apologizing while also telling them to buy their products?

I think so.

These messages of empowerment are incredibly important, but so rarely are they explored on a large scale. Women who wouldn’t search out articles about feminism Jezebel or the Huffington Post now have the chance to see female empowerment as something important. In many ways, it is another step to stop promoting sexism and make feminism the new normal.

I want more empowering commercials.  Show women of all races, ages, and sizes succeeding in business, in the arts, and in engineering. Encourage us to reveal double standards in society and make us rethink the gender roles that limit our passions and us.

Yes, it is true that these are marketing campaigns with the ultimate goal of getting us to buy things. But they could just stick to old advertisement strategies. These campaigns engage consumers and encourage every woman who watches to be the happiest and best she can be. You don’t need to switch to Verizon to see that one of the country’s largest telecommunications companies is concerned about the low numbers of women in STEM fields.

We are inundated by advertisements, and that is unlikely to change. If we can’t change how many ads we see, let’s change the messages they are sending us. We need an advertising culture that promotes female empowerment, rather than relying on making us insecure or reducing us to objects in tiny plaid skirts. We need more commercials and more companies that aren’t afraid to stand up to old tropes.

I’ll take a commercial that empowers women over another Axe commercial any day.

Written by Victoria Ungvarsky, Women’s Fund guest blogger

 

Watch some of the ads and let us know what you think:

Verizon, Inspire Her Mind

CoverGirl. #GirlsCan

Pantene, #ShineStrong

 

likeagirl

 

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A College Feminist

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As a senior in college and a self-proclaimed feminist, feminism and gender equality have been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I have gone as far as to plan and write (starting this fall) a thesis on feminism in 21st century popular culture. The idea behind my thesis came from a personal desire to achieve a more educated understanding on the importance for feminism in all facets of literature and the media. My thesis specifically focuses on female protagonists in young adult literature and movies, such as Bella Swan or Katniss Everdeen.

As I get closer to beginning my thesis I find myself asking, what does feminism mean to me? Recently the “f” word, feminism, has been receiving a lot of press and analysis. Celebrities and advocates alike are standing up or standing against the phrase. Personally, I have spent hours with friends discussing how integral gender equality is to our society. I have been in countless classrooms, and several arguments on the importance of feminism in the 21st century. Clearly, there are infinite facts on how women still face inequality today, reasons that inform and inspire the work of Women’s Funds globally, But, for the sake of this blog post and the reader’s time, I won’t list facts, but rather tell a story.

I have a very specific memory that comes to mind when considering the question of what feminism means to me. I was in an introductory biology lab a few years ago when my lab partner and I began to discuss my passion for all things feminist. Our opinions differed, but I kept an open mind and asked him to share his views on feminism, especially in today’s culture and society. He then told me that if women really wanted equality, we as a whole, should eliminate classes and organizations and other establishments built upon feminist teachings. He then proceeded to claim that these systems only perpetuated inequality and made us seem as if women were victims. I remember listening to him and feeling complete shock. How could he possibly say something so wrong? How could this college student who has a mother, perhaps a sister, or niece, a female cousin, or even a girlfriend say something that would directly affect each one of their lives?  But as he continued, I no longer felt surprised, I instead I became worried. My lab partner wasn’t saying these things in a malicious manner, but really because he had a misinformed view. He truly thought that if we didn’t raise awareness for gender equality it would work itself out.

Of course, if my unaware classmate was right, feminists across the world would rejoice. They would no longer have to inform their friends, family members, teachers, lab partners, or strangers on the inequalities women face on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, this is not the case and women across the globe have to speak up for feminism and inform people of its absolute necessity. So when I think of why feminism is so important to me it’s for every reason imaginable. But most importantly, feminism is important to me because it equates to a better understanding; a comprehensive outlook on how and why gender equality is essential.

The conversation with my lab partner concluded with each of us enlightening each other. He showed me how the stereotypes associated with feminism clouded the movement’s core values.  He merely saw feminists as victims, people who complained of their current outlook. I tried to change his views and open up a world to him that consisted of empowerment, positivity, and equality. Unfortunately, our 10 minute conversation didn’t change my peer’s mind, but I know I brought an awareness and curiosity that was not there before our conversation. We walked away more knowledgeable and with a better understanding of differing viewpoints. Feminism, to me, is not about being right or proving others wrong. It is a collaborative and inspiring effort that advocates for equality in every social, political, and economic aspect.

I hope that my lab partner, wherever he is today, views the feminist movement differently and hopefully with a more positive outlook. I think these conversations on an individual level can truly provide people a greater understanding of feminism and the positivity that surrounds this movement. I still disagree with my lab partner, women’s gender and sexuality studies classes, strong female leaders, social awareness, and political support for gender equality all help our society achieve a more balanced and accurate view on the world’s women. Feminism has never been about complaining or victimizing, it’s always been about instilling a celebration of strength, innovation, and authority within women and girls across the globe.

 

Written by Rebecca Anderson, Women’s Fund Intern

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