On Thursday, 72andSunny, Crowd DNA and Lion co-hosted an event exploring how women are portrayed in culture and how brands can engage with modern Australian women through gender literacy.
New Narratives: Engaging with Modern Women featured a panel including Milan Ring (singer, rapper and producer), Amy Darvill (brand director, Lion), Dr Kate Adams (Bondi Vet), Taryn Williams (founder of theright.fit and WINK Models), Tara Mckenty (creative director, Google APAC) and Dr Dharmica Mistry (scientist, co-founder of BCAL Diagnostics).
Part presentation, part panel discussion, the session explored the trajectory of the female narratives, using semiotics to identify and document recessive, dominant and emergent themes surrounding womanhood and femininity through the lens of Jungian brand archetypes.
Says Mckenty: “Females are in the best place to bring up other under-represented groups. We may not feel like we’re equally represented yet but we’re further along than a lot of other groups so we need to reach down and help bring them up.”
Says Mistry: “Brands are all about being the best in the world, rather than best for the world. Women are strong and multifaceted and so important in this industry in pushing forward the agenda.”
Says Williams: “We have a long way to go in having diverse communications. Women in tech and women in business have been front of mind but showing diversity in culture, age – there are whole generations we don’t market to. I hope that we make some real strides here in the next 5 years.”
With new narratives comes new opportunities, and the evening finished with tips on improving your gender literacy and how we can integrate these new narratives of womanhood:
1. Interrogate your narrative
Avoid “woke washing” by taking a hard look at your brand narrative, making sure your internal and external stories align, and committing to real change.
2. Learn to read gender meta-narratives
Gender expectations shape our identity and have a pervasive influence on society. Look beneath the hood and understand what is shaping your audiences’ cultural context, rather than just analysing surface behaviour.
3. Question your assumptions
Do women really want to be “smaller”? Is beer still a “man’s drink”? Recognise and challenge your own biases and assumptions that exist within your brand and/or category.
4. Train your female gaze
If the male gaze turns women into objects to be seen, the female gaze sees them as people – complex, multifaceted beings.
5. Consider your male narrative
As the narratives around women evolve, the way we depict masculinity needs to become more individual and fluid, too.
6. Consider if you need gender at all
In the new age of identity, is gender really relevant? Does your brand and/or category need to speak to an audience’s biology, or are their values and identity more important?
Says Sarah Tan, strategy director, 72andSunny: “It was a huge privilege working with Elyse Pigram from Crowd DNA, and to have these six accomplished, intelligent women on the panel. Thank you to Lion for hosting at their space, and to everyone who showed up and made the evening special. We hope it provided some food for thought, and look forward to our next event in 2020!”