We know you are already familiar with FCKH8 and their campaigns. Remember the potty mouthed princesses? Those sweet little angelic girls dropping F-bombs in the name of raising awareness about sexism, the wage gap and domestic violence. The videos divided many people, even within the feminist community as some saw the portrayal of underage girls dropping curse words on camera for a campaign by a for-profit company as a little distasteful.
We might’ve agreed, but they brilliantly got our attention and expertly shared a vital message: why are we so outraged and offended by young girls swearing, and don’t feel as passionate when it comes to abolishing sexism in society? That’s what had us hooked.
Well now the t-shirt company are back with another powerful message about harmful beauty standards that bring women down. In their latest video titled ‘Feminists vs Photoshop’ they feature a diverse group of women in their underwear speaking out against sexist standards often forced upon us by the fashion, advertising and beauty industries.
These women are literally and figuratively giving those standards the middle finger by telling the aforementioned industries what real women ought to look like:
“Real women have wrinkles,” says one woman.
“Real women can have curves,” says another.
Other attributes that are listed by the featured feminists include having big muscles, being skinny, being big-breasted, and even flat-chested.
After stating their own opinions about what a real woman looks like, they collectively agree with the following statement:
“Real women can be whatever the f**k they are!”
Finally we see them all flipping the bird to photoshop, pointing out how it has managed to successful blind entire generations of women to believe they need to live up to some unrealistic expectation of a womanly ideal that is a digital manipulation.
It’s a clever bold campaign by FCKH8, aimed at getting people to buy their “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt. Proceeds from each shirt sold in this collection will be donated to organizations and charities that work for women’s rights and equality. Fans have the power to nominate their charity, and vote on which one should receive the funds by November 30th.
It may seem like an uphill battle trying to fight against the photoshop machine that has now become commonplace in advertising, but every little bit of awareness and social activism chips away at its power.
And it’s not just clever campaigns like this that are giving people the power to stand up against sexist standards, there is legislative action also being taken. A bill introduced into Congress in 2014 called the ‘Truth In Advertising Act‘ was seeking greater accountability and regulations in the advertising industry. Unfortunately it did not get enough votes by representatives, but we hope the sponsors of the bill plan to introduce this again in the future.
In the bill they claim: “An increasing amount of academic evidence links exposure to such altered images with emotional, mental, and physical health issues, including eating disorders, especially among children and teenagers. There is particular concern about the marketing of such images to children and teenagers through distribution in teen-oriented publications, advertising displayed in public places outside the home, and online media.”
It may seem like a bit of harmless advertising to see an overly photoshopped model in a high fashion campaign created to help consumers “aspire” to something greater than themselves, but when the two-fold message is A) you’re not enough as who you are, and B) you will never be able to become this model of aspiration, we have a deep-rooted and pervasive problem in our society when it comes to body image.
If you feel strongly about this issue, you can purchase a t-shirt from the FCKH8 website, or simply share this article and video with your friends. Let’s be a generation of real women who celebrate diversity.