Be womankind?

Written by
Andrew Papworth
Added
May 14, 2013

Oxfam finally seem to have lost it with this advert for international women’s day. To quote a few clichés:

’They can’t be serious.’
‘It’s political correctness gone mad.’
‘They must have more money than sense.’

Apart from the fact that I believe that it is a dereliction of duty to run a hearts-and-minds advert like this without including a powerful ask for support (a web address asking viewers to ‘celebrate with us’ doesn’t count), the message in this ad is sheer divisive, sententious garbage which risks setting back the cause of women’s rights by at least half a century.

It is particularly ironic that such simplistic drivel should come from an organisation which has ‘Be Humankind’ as its tagline. Surely humankind has got beyond the stage where it is necessary to disparage men in order to argue for women? Is this advert meant to imply that men won’t tell their friends how to fish, how to start a business and mend villages given the right support and leadership? Note also that it says nothing about teaching her children, just that ‘she’ll teach her friends’, presumably because that would be stereotyping women as mothers. To quote that great philosopher Victor Meldrew*, ‘I don’t belieeeeve it’.

*Victor Meldrew is the grumpy old man in the UK’s sitcomOne Foot in the Grave.

About the author: Andrew Papworth

Andrew Papworth

After a long career in advertising agencies, Andrew Papworth has been freelancing as an advertising and communications planner for about two decades.

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