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Empowertising = Depowertising

Andi Zeisler writes about advertisements catering to feminism. Quotes are from We Were Feminists Once.

On creating needs no one really has:

Here’s the thing we all know about advertising to women: the products aimed their way, from household cleaners to cosmetics to personal-care products, are pitched to solve a problem that in many cases the consumer might not ever know she had until she was alerted to and/or shamed for it (Wait, I didn’t know my armpits were supposed to be sexier!) (p. 25).

On selling back a movement to target groups:

Celebrating [feminist] ads themselves simply celebrates advertisers’ skill at co-opting women’s movements and selling them back [to] us – and then rewards us for buying in (p. 28).

Zeisler makes the argument that when the feminist movement began to gain steam, the corporate world jumped all over it – to sell feminism back to women in a repackaged, reshaped, and gutted form.

The movement’s success has rendered it irrelevant as something to be considered in shaping culture (p. 20).

I’m still working through this book, but the seeming thesis is interesting. If you apply her thoughts on the feminist movements to other movements in culture, including Christianity, here’s what you get. The corporate world co-opts a movement and tries to sell it back to those who are a part of that movement or who might be attracted to it. By the time the product goes through the mediator of the corporate world, it inevitably changes into something that is different from the original movement. In the words of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, every institution becomes its opposite.

It shouldn’t shock us that corporate Christianity, or as a writer/publisher I know calls it, “the Jesus business,” is a watered down mess. It’s gone through the wrong mediators. And now it’s being sold back to us in a gutted form that has no power to actually shape culture.