Proya exposes gender bias
Leading Chinese skincare brand Proya created a campaign aimed at challenging deep-rooted gender bias for both men and women. Under the heading “It is prejudice, not gender, that draws the boundary,” the campaign video highlights common statements such as, “you have really got a nerve, you are not like a girl at all. You are so quiet; you are not manly”, while questioning gender bias: “We always ask women how they balance their family and career, but we never ask men this question. We ask what it means to be an independent woman, but we never ask men the same question.”
These opinions resonated with many young people’s attitudes that they don’t want society to define how men or women should behave. Supporters of the campaign voiced that everyone should have the right to choose their roles and what they love to do. In fact, the video received more than 100,000 shares, over 100,000 likes, and 7,400 comments on WeChat Channels, making it the most shared video on WeChat moments on International Women’s Day.
Tmall asks people to call out gender bias
In the same vein as Proya, e-commerce platform Tmall took to the streets. They set up an interactive bullet screen in Shanghai’s trendy Xintiandi area that displayed a range of sexist comments including “Marriage is an essential part of every woman’s life”, and “You’re not young anymore, don’t have high standards when looking for a husband.” Passers-by had the chance to call out these statements by getting onto a podium and holding up boards with statements such as “Society’s standards should not define beauty”, “Everyone deserves to be loved”, or “Stop being mean to yourself when you don’t have a ‘perfect body shape’.”
Countless people took part in the offline activity and the campaign video went viral online. The hashtag ‘#how cool is it that girls can counterattack’ gained 130 million views on Weibo.
Pantene empowers women in the workplace
Pantene took a similar approach by taking Tmall and Proya’s sentiment into the workplace. In China, many working women are still ‘trapped’ by gender prejudice and thus often wish to conceal their feminine characteristics in the workplace. They cut their long hair, avoid dressing up, and cover their curves to gain professional recognition. In order to truly understand these deep-rooted issues, Pantene chose to only work with an all-female creative team to speak for women during International Women’s Day.
Their campaign video features a story of a female CEO and her male assistant going to a forum. The greeting staff don’t shake the female CEO’s hand, assuming that she is the man’s secretary. It is common for people feel surprised and impressed to learn of female CEOs – a reaction Pantene aims to change. The brand even went one step further and changed the spelling of their brand name in Chinese to remove the radical signifying ‘women’, turning 潘婷 into 潘亭. The message being: To conquer the workplace, ‘female’ characteristics shouldn’t hold you back.
Net-a-Porter shares incredible women’s stories
Luxury e-commerce platform Net-a-Porter went down a different route to Proya, Tmall and Pantene by choosing to celebrate rather than to expose. Apart from introducing artists to discuss fashion, female and society issues on a livestream on Tmall, they invited actress Tan Zhuo to shoot a creative short film for International Women’s Day.
The film showcases the extraordinary shining moments in women’s ordinary lives. It features Zhuyujie, a member of the Shanghai Writers Association, Su Min, a solo traveller who drove across China at the age of 50, a teenager fashion blogger, and a talented debater. The video attracted over 21,000 views on WeChat, including comments such as “every woman has powers that no one should underestimate.”