Which Brands Are Failing At International Women's Day This Year?

International Women's Day was initially proposed as a holiday during the 1910 International Socialist Women's Conference. Therefore it's very non-Alanis-ly ironic that it has pretty much become a day for corporations to (often clumsily) do some #empowering #girlboss marketing in hopes we will see it and, I assume, be so impressed that we all stop talking about the wage gap altogether.

Some companies, of course, just chill and maybe donate some money to a good cause or charity or promote something they are already doing — like Stayfree's Project Free Period, which is actually a very interesting program that teaches sex workers in India other employable skills on their days off, which they only get during their periods.

Others, well, they just make us want to ask "WHY?"

Eleanor Roosevelt ... with a Barbie face!

I suppose I should appreciate Barbie's attempts to be less bad than she was when I was a kid — making dolls in a slightly larger variety of body shapes and skin tones and ethnicities, and trying to be more inclusive and socially responsible in general. One of the ways the brand is trying to do this is through its "Inspiring Women" collection, which features Barbies of various inspiring women throughout history — Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Ella Fitzgerald, Amelia Earhart, Florence Nightingale, and so forth.

For International Women's Day this year, the brand introduced a new Eleanor Roosevelt Barbie. And as you can see from the picture above, it is ... an Eleanor Roosevelt doll with Barbie's face. Sure, the eyebrows are a little heavier and the eyes are less cartoony, but that's Barbie's damn face, no question about it. And honestly I just think there is something a little unsettling about that. I'd have to think it would be better for kids to play with a doll that actually looked like Eleanor Roosevelt and not some weird Barbie-fied version of her.

A book about feminism ... from Dior!

I feel the need to preface this by noting that the t-shirt on that plank (of feminism?) costs $860, although I personally think feminism would be better served if whoever is thinking about buying that that shirt just goes out and gives $860 to the first woman they see. Her Dior, a 240-page book published March 2, is about Dior's artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri — the first female designer to become artistic director of Dior — and how she has infused the "illustrious fashion brand with a strong current of feminism." Chiuri herself is a very talented artist and, I think, a pretty cool woman.

This does not take away from the fact that it's straight-up hilarious that there is a $95 book about feminism from Dior. It's the fanciest feminism ever! Luxury feminism!

I'm not saying feminists can't be fashionable — far from it! I love fashion! I love clothes, purses, shoes, accessories of all kinds. But there is something unsettling about the combination of feminism and conspicuous consumption when so much of the oppression women face expresses itself economically.

A $75 bouquet of roses meant to highlight how there are not enough female CEOs!

British florist service Interflora noted in its International Women's Day marketing materials that its campaign this year was "inspired by Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, who recently became the youngest self-made woman billionaire ever."

Billionaires of any gender should not exist, period. Also, let's wait on worrying about all those "female CEOs" while 49 percent of women are not earning enough to live on. How about that?

Tough to care about your bad chocolate puns when child slaves are still an issue!

Hershey's is celebrating International Women's Day by changing the wrappers on 1,000 candy bars it's selling at three stores to highlight the "SHE" in "Hershey's."

Also too:

The release is also accompanied by a short film featuring impactful women including Gloria Steinem, Gilda Radner and Katherine Johnson. The brand will encourage fans to celebrate by sharing pictures of inspiring women with the hashtag #CelebrateSHE.

I bet all of that -- the wrapper redesign, the movie, the concept -- took a lot of time and effort to execute. Probably even a decent amount of money! But I can think of a much better use of their time, and that would be tracking down their damn supply chains to ensure that they are not profiting off the labor of child slaves on the Ivory Coast. As a woman, as a human, that would mean a whole lot more to me than a freaking wrapper with the word "SHE" highlighted on it. It's really hard to congratulate brands for doing these kinds of things when they're also maybe doing some human rights abuses around the world.

At least they didn't become Burger Queen For A Day?

If you've paid attention to social media at all today, you've probably heard about the no good very bad Burger King tweet thread, in which they tweeted the obviously controversial sentiment that "Women belong in the kitchen" and then followed that up with "Of fancy restaurants! Because not enough women are chefs!" Get it?

Of course, the way the initial tweet was seized upon by professional misogynists, it's pretty clear their marketing people really did not think this one through very well.

Tweet from Mark Dice:

Absolutely. Women not knowing how to cook is a major contributor to the decline of Western civilization. Thanks for helping point them back in the right direction Burger King!

That just goes to show you why a joke like that isn't going to land. Because we actually do have a whole bunch of men out there saying crap like this in all sincerity, and for whom it is very much not a joke.

The fact that whoever was in charge of their social media spent the whole morning defending the bad tweet in the comments and accusing people of not being fair about their amazingly clever joke was not a great look either. You gotta know when it's time to walk it back."

Here is to each #firstwoman who has broken glass ceilings to inspire more firsts for women. Because you can't have a second, third or fourth without a FIRST! This Jane is for you!

Oh my goodness, there is apparently a whole Twitter campaign from Johnnie Walker where prominent female individuals are being paid to tweet about Jane Walker, which I guess is Johnnie Walker's lady whisky for ladies. Why? I don't know. I drink gin. Delicious, non-gendered gin.

The commercialization of International Women's Day is not surprising in a world where practically everything is commercialized, but perhaps it's better to just live every day like it's International Women's Day and forget the ridiculously expensive t-shirts.

If you're looking for a better way to celebrate International Women's Day today, why not throw some money at a woman-owned and operated business like Wonkette?

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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