Recently, Pantene released a commercial that has been running in the Philippines but has become incredibly popular in the US in the last couple days. The commercial tears down double standards that women face in the workplace and the ad itself is part of a new campaign that Pantene’s recently launched. The “Whip It” campaign is empowering women to “be strong and shine”, reminding them that they don’t have to “let labels hold [them] back”.
The commercial covers a lot of double standards that women often face in general. From labeling men as bosses, but women as bossy to calling men smooth and women show offs, the ad reminds audiences that the same behavior is interpreted much differently depending on sex. A study that was conducted by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently found that women in the workplace with children under 18 earn less than women without kids, while men with kids under 18 earn more. Another study shows that women earn less money for each child they have, while men are more likely to make gains in salary when they get married and have kids (Budig, 2013).
As if these statistics weren’t shocking enough, Pantene claims that 70% of men believe that women should change themselves and downplay their personalities to be accepted. I’m sorry, but if that’s not a ridiculous belief, I’m not sure what is. Regardless of sex, it’s baffling to me that people can’t be themselves in a society that supposedly embraces differences.
Whether this discrimination against women is in the workplace, or just in everyday situations, that is not okay. It’s not okay for people to praise one person over another for doing the exact same thing. It’s not okay for people to call one person a leader and another pushy when they are just as passionate. It’s definitely not okay for double standards to still exist in modern society.
With luck, this commercial will begin to circulate in many countries and actually begin to play on television instead of on Youtube. The fact that a single commercial can draw the sort of attention to such a large issue as double standards is fantastic and a step forward for feminists everywhere. Pantene has successfully confronted the negativity of double standards all while empowering women of all ages to be who they are, despite what anyone else thinks. Increased awareness is something we all could use a little more of, especially if it means equality in the future.