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Purple Washing and how not to fall into it when creating digital content

March marks International Women's Day, also known as 8M, a commemoration that arose from the event where 129 women died in a fire at the Cotton factory in New York, United States, after declaring a strike. Today, on March 8th, women continue to demand equal pay and an end to the wage gap, as well as guarantees for our human rights. We denounce femicides, harassment, and inequalities resulting from the historical patriarchal structure that oppresses and discriminates against women.


Si tú eres una agencia digital, una marca o un creador de contenido y durante marzo quieres subirte a este trending, antes de comenzar debes tomar en cuenta lo siguiente





What is purple washing? Literally, it means "purple face wash," it is taking advantage of the feminist cause for business benefit, using it lightly with slogans that are not later applied in the business and social framework.


Currently, brands are making serious mistakes and becoming the subject of social complaints, like the case of Panam.


In the lead up to 8M, Panam launched a line of "feminist" sneakers, arguing that they could do so because 70 percent of the company's staff are women. The company presented photos of its new sneakers, designed with patterns similar to those made by activist groups. One of their copies for this campaign was:


"Just get over it, woman! Get over that abusive, macho, and ignorant man. Get over him in everything. Be happier than him. Earn more money than him. Enjoy life more than him." - Panam.


What can we learn from Panam's mistake?


When we are inspired by a graphic expression to lower the visual concept of a campaign, we cannot simply copy it. Feminist patterns have a social protest origin, and campaign designs do not have a similar context in any way.


As creatives, we should always think about the implications of bringing social art to a brand campaign that does not have the credentials to boast about a topic as delicate as violence against women. Panam's copy seems to be written without any context about the fact that 10 women are murdered in Mexico every day. It falls into toxic positivity that invisibilizes the context of women today.


What can we do instead?


- Create a campaign where all those involved are women. Why? Only we know the social and cultural context that permeates us, and this way we can avoid wrong copies and art.


- Trying to jump onto the social protest issue will always be a mistake. You can address the topic from an empathetic perspective, with messages in favor of women, their freedom, and their passions, avoiding the points of tension of demonstrations, marches, and patterns.


- Put a face to your female collaborators, a series of photos where you show the great work that women do within your agency or brand.


- Within your agency or company, break the wage gap. Hire more women, provide equitable salaries, implement safety protocols for cases of harassment, violence, racism, and homophobia. Do not re-victimize women who report these issues within your company or brand.


If you are going to implement a campaign, you can allocate a good portion of the profits to organizations or networks in favor of women's rights. Donate and truly support the causes you want to jump on as a trend.


You can always seek advice from women specialists in the field. It is an excellent investment to hire a woman to review your campaigns and avoid purple washing. Remember that at Unbranded, we specialize in digital content. If you need advice on topics related to creating content with a gender perspective, do not hesitate to contact us.


Fuentes: Feminarian y El Imparcial