No, Getting Female CEOs To Pose In Their Underwear Is Not A Step Forward For Feminism
Underwear brand Dear Kate relishes the concept of using non-traditional models in their ads, and when the company’s CEO talks about her brand, you really get the sense she thinks she’s above the Victoria’s Secret come-hither sales model. That’s great and all, but putting female tech CEOs in their underwear and claiming to make some feminist point while doing it totally misses the mark.
Dear Kate CEO Julie Sygiel explains to AdWeek why she thinks her ad campaign is revolutionary:
“I think a lot of traditional lingerie photo shoots depict women as simply standing there looking sexy. They’re not always in a position of power and control,” she says. “In our photo shoots it’s important to portray women who are active and ambitious. They’re not just standing around waiting for things to happen.”
So instead of shots of women staring blankly, posing for the camera in lacy underwear and push up bras, we have female CEOs in comfy cotton underwear and t-shirts. Sitting around coding and talking about power or whatever it is CEOs do. I’m sorry, I just don’t get this.
What point are we making here? That CEOs like underwear, too? That it’s okay to have a roomful of half-naked CEOs in their underwear because some of them have fuller figures and are wearing granny panties? The fact that you would even ask a female CEO to strip down to make some point about “power” seems misguided to me. These women are powerful, and it has nothing to do with how they look in underwear.
There is no good reason I can think of to see female tech CEOs in their underwear – and it’s not because I don’t think the ads are nice. It is great to see women of different sizes and shapes in their underwear, but the ad just makes the Dear Kate brand seem tone-deaf. Tech is a field dominated by men, that many have noted reeks of sexism. This is not helping. Hey! Women have a really hard time getting ahead and taken seriously in tech. I have an idea. Let’s put them in their underwear! Don’t worry – it’s cotton.
Points for trying to do something different, I guess? But declaring that it’s a powerful, feminist statement – not so much.