Still from the Gilette Venus advert.

I stumbled across the new Gillette Venus ad campaign purely by accident; it was the sponsored advert before a video I was about to watch on YouTube. Usually I skip these ads but this particular advert caught my interest and I allowed it to play out. What unfolded before me I found so inspiring I have since shared it with many of my friends and family hoping they too will find the ad uplifting.

The ad features a diverse selection of women participating in different sports, reading books, making music, designing clothes, and working with electronics amongst other things, whilst a spoken word poet encourages us to not allow ourselves to be limited by the labels we are assigned by people and society.

The poem implores “When someone labels you this or that, use your ‘and’ to take a stand.” The concept is that we mustn‚Äôt allow single labels to box us in. We can be pretty and smart, we can be an astronaut and a ballerina, and we can be strong and sensitive. We must always insist on being more than one thing! In my opinion that‚Äôs a pretty awesome message, and one that lots of women (and men!) need to hear.

#UseYourAnd has taken off on social media with a lot of positive support for the campaign from a huge array of women and girls. The majority of press surrounding the campaign seems to be positive with many being inspired and uplifted by its message, however, there have been a few critics. Some believe the power of the idea is somewhat lost because the ad is asking women to conform to the societal norm of shaving their legs and other areas of the body. Critics feel that it’s inconsistent, and maybe even hypocritical, to suggest that women should embrace all parts of themselves except parts of their bodies society doesn’t like!

For me though these critics are simply trying too hard to find fault with an otherwise great ad campaign. I can see their point of view but the advert isn’t demanding you shave your legs, to me it’s saying if you do want to shave your legs this is a great product to use. Plus it’s advocating a really positive message in the process!

I think we need more ads like Gillette’s, which show women and girls they can be whatever and whoever they want. It can be all too easy to feel boxed in by what society deems us to be, to feel marginalised from certain groups or concepts because your label doesn’t fit with theirs. As a girl who plays rugby you can feel alienated from the make-up counter when people say you’re sporty and equally as a make-up artist you can feel alienated from the rugby pitch when people label you glam! Far too often we allow these labels to define us and we forget to speak up, take a stand, and let society know we are so much more than just pretty, or smart, or sporty, or glamourous. We are all of those and more beyond!

Check out Gilette Venus’ advert here.

-Erin Sykes
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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