All the Most Questionable Ways Brands Are Latching onto International Women’s Day

Dear brands scheming up ways to profit off a day like International Women’s Day without *actually* contributing to women’s causes or celebrating women’s accomplishments in a real way: stop


International Women’s Day is here and, like with most holidays and special events, brands have come out of the woodwork with all kinds of IWD offerings. And while some are offering up products whose sales will directly benefit women (go figure!)—like the indie jewelry brand Wolf Circus, who’ll be donating 20 percent of all sales on March 8 to Atira, a Vancouver-based organization that aims to end violence against women, and luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter, who will donate 100 percent of the profits from the sale of its new IWD T-shirt capsule collection to Women for Women International, a non-profit that helps female survivors of war rebuild their lives—others have IWD support plans that are decidedly less… altruistic. Listen, we’re all for celebrating in small ways, too, but when it looks like a marketing stunt and smells like one, too, chances are pretty good it *is* one, yes? Here are some of the stinkers we noticed this International Women’s Day.

McDonalds is flipping their arches at several locations to make a ‘W’ (yes, to symbolize “Women”)  

But sadly, it seems that’s all they’re doing. Symbolic acts are nice but when they come from massive corporations with questionable values, and even more questionable compensation for employees and doesn’t include any actual action that will directly impact women, it looks a lot more like an empty stunt.

The W stands for “Women.” Any more questions?

KFC Malaysia is celebrating IWD by replacing Colonel Sanders with his wife, Claudia  

KFC Malaysia reportedly switched its logo to Colonel Sanders’ wife, Claudia—she was Malaysian—and people are roasting (or should I say, deep frying?) the fried chicken company because, like Mickey D’s upside-down arches, everyone’s struggling to understand how this will actually impact women’s equal rights in a tangible, actionable way. Also, if you’re in need of a little LOL, kindly skim through some of the deliciously savage tweets dragging the marketing move—they’re finger-lickin’ good.

Mattel released 14 new Barbie dolls in honour of IWD 

Dubbed their “Shero” collection (first mistake: please stop gendering terms that do not need further gendering. Wouldn’t “Heroines” or hell, “Heros” have done the trick?), Barbie released 14 new dolls based on real women including Olympians Chloe Kim and Gabby Douglas, along with Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart.

Now, don’t get me wrong—getting a diverse collection of dolls in the likenesses of accomplished women into the hands of impressionable young people is cool, I’ll give them that. But, and it’s a big but, it all comes off a little trite when Mattel continues to produce dolls with proportions that would force them to walk on all fours (seriously) and only introduced different body types for the first time ever in 2016. On that note, while the dolls feature different ethnicities, they seem to all have the same—or very similar—body type with the exception of a couple dolls who are somewhat shorter than the rest. Ugh. Finally, we immediately wondered if any portion of the profits from the sales of Mattel’s new “woke” collection would go to benefit women or girls and the answer is… no.

Kim Kardashian rolled out some new “feminist” Kimojis

Kimmy just added a new collection of “Women’s Empowerment Kimojis” to her super popular Kimoji line (Kim-themed emojis, of course) including a sticker that says “Slay in your lane” and another one that reads “Grab America Back.” Responses to the new launch have been mixed with much of the criticism pointing to Kardashian’s apparent newfound, for-profit embrace of feminism despite refusing to call herself a feminist just last year.

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