It’s 1957, and Funny Face is playing in cinemas across the land. “Now I wouldn’t presume to tell a woman what a woman oughtta think,” sings Kay Thompson, draped in a swathe of fuchsia satin. “But if she’s gotta think – think pink!” And so a catchphrase was born.
66 year later, as another International Women’s Day looms (March 8th), Thompson would surely despair that women are still being told what to think – about pink, and all the other guff marketed at them in the name of empowerment. Where to begin in detailing the phalanx of fluff I’ve been sent in the name of #IWD? Maybe with a pitch titled “Girls’ Trip to Abu Dhabi”, detailing the wonderful shopping opportunities afforded by a city where abortion is illegal, as is lesbian sex.
Much as brands would like us to sit drinking pink champagne at a ClitFest (yes, it’s actually a real IWD event), most women will spend March 8th working harder than ever – as we all are to make ends meet – but also working longer for free. According to new analysis by the TUC, the gender pay gap is now so wide that for nearly two months of the year, the average woman in paid employment is effectively working for nothing.
Since we’re all savvier than ever about pinkwashing, for me, the most effective IWD initiatives this year were those which did more than pay shallow lip service to the event, such as Haagen Daaz, which honoured its female co-founder by launching a bursary for female entrepreneurs. Rather than engaging in shallow pink performative feminism, companies should be trying to address the real issues that hinder our equality. In the words of Gender Pay Gap Bot: stop posting platitudes. Start fixing the problem.
What Laura Thinks…