In this week’s Wednesday 5: Pantene’s new ad campaign wants women to stop saying “I’m sorry” so much; Facebook changes policy, no longer conflating breastfeeding women with pornography; Diane von Furstenberg curates her five favorite TED Talks; Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her latest protagonist; and five ways in which the Internet is a powerful tool to combat gender inequality.

 

 

1.

Pantene Wants Us to Stop Saying “I’m Sorry”

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These days, commercials and ads have become important political statements. Case in point: Pantene’s new video ad that has gone viral−”Not Sorry.” The ad calls out women for apologizing way too much for—well, practically everything. The message of the new campaign, other than selling shampoo, is to question why women apologize so much and what would happen if they stopped! The subtext here is that apologizing is not a matter of politeness, but is in fact quite gendered—that the act of “saying sorry” is more aligned with women than men, and when women do so, it is deemed inferior and weak. Interesting, we think, but also quite flawed. See the video above.

Other than selling shampoo, Pantene is using the new ad campaign to launch its Shine Strong Fund, an initiative in partnership with the American Association of University Women that aims to  educate women and enable them to overcome bias and societal expectations—and to celebrate strong women.

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2.

Breastfeeding is No Longer “Obscene” on Facebook

screen_shot_2014-06-23_at_2.47.52_pmHip Mama magazine, Spring 2014 issue.

The social media giant Facebook enforces its nudity policies quite vigorously. But recently it has changed its Community Standards to allow previously banned images of women breastfeeding onto the platform. For example, the cover featured above of Hip Mama magazine, with Spanish artist Ana Alvarez-Errecalde standing, topless, holding her child, is an example of the kinds of images on Facebook that were formerly censored. Media critic Soraya Chemaly of Bitch Magazine tells us why this new Facebook policy to allow breastfeeding images is a significant change for the good:

Regulations regarding women’s bodies are more stringent, repressive, and aggressively policed—whether by law, religion, or Internet company policy. By their very existence, the regulations sexualize women by forcing the conflation of women’s nudity with pornography. This was the case with the mastectomy and breastfeeding pictures in Facebook.  This insistence that naked female nipples are offensive, not “family friendly,” and somehow dirty definitively undermines our ability to see women’s bodies as just bodies, not sexual objects.

 Read more at Bitch magazine.

 

3.

Diane von Furstenberg’s 5 favorite TED Talks

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We were happy to discover this collection on TED.com: legendary fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg—who created the wrap dress—picked the 5 TED talks that have inspired her most. They include some phenomenal talks by women: Rachel Armstrong on “Architecture that repairs itself”; Elizabeth Gilbert on “Your elusive creative genius”; and Amy Cuddy on “Your body language shapes who you are.” Take a look at these curated talks, which are chock full of ideas that inspire. 

 

 4.

Elizabeth Gilbert and The Signature of All Things

book-articleInlineFor those of you who missed the Eat, Pray, Love craze, have no fear. Author Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest novel, The Signature of All Things, has been received well by critics (including our own Toni Myers) and audiences alike. But it is no typical woman-finds-enduring-love-and-sails-off-into-the-sunset kind of novel. In a recent interview with Huffington Post Live, Gilbert offered that although her protagonist, Alma Whittaker, is a 19th-century female botanist, Alma’s life doesn’t revolve around romance:

“There were a lot of women back then who had vocations. They made contributions, and they had voices and they had passions. They weren’t just defined by their relationships—as they are not now, either. So I really wanted to celebrate that kind of a woman.”

 

 

 

5.

5 Times That the Internet Demanded Gender Equality

Whether it’s a Change.org petition or a viral trend on Twitter, the Internet is a sure-fire way to catalyze change. Yohana Desta of Mashable.com compiles a clever list of five ways the Internet enacted that change and demanded gender equality. “Many people use blog posts, tweets and status updates to highlight instances of discrimination against women, and spread awareness on the serious problem,” writes Desta. Click here to read her list, from calling out sexism in the comic book world to taking Lego to task for stereotyping girls.