The latest H&M fall campaign has gained attention from many people due to a diverse video that seems to support women and universal feminism. The problem is that H&M doesn’t really support women at all. H&M is simply using feminism as an advertising scheme to attract people who are tricked into thinking they’re giving money to a moral company.
In the campaign video, accompanied by a female rendition of Tom Jones’ song “She’s a Lady,” women of all different body shapes, skin tones or amount of hair flash quickly before your eyes.
The first time I saw it, I was genuinely happy that a company released such a great video encouraging women to not give a damn. But then I read an article from an online blog called Global Hobo that made me rethink my decision.
The article talks about this new wave feminism and how what feminists in 2016 want and value are much different from what they fought for in the past. The issues women face today go far beyond equal pay and domestic violence. Slut-shaming, rape culture, sexual assault on campus and the rights of women in developing countries are just some of the big issues being discussed today.
Of course, when the H&M campaign was released, the media exploded and the video was written about in Time magazine and the Huffington Post.
However, the attention received was not deserved.
According to a report by the Asian Floor Wage Alliance titled, “Precarious Work in the H&M Global Value Chain,” the fashion company routinely exploits its staff working on the garments in other countries. Based on 251 interviews, the report concluded that “employees from 11 out of 12 Cambodian supplier factories claimed they had witnessed or experienced employment termination during pregnancy.”
The report also found that every one out of the 50 staff surveyed in India said women were often fired when they became pregnant.
H&M does not stand for feminism or basic human rights for that matter. Syrian refugee children were recently found working in H&M factories in Turkey according to an online magazine The Independent.
H&M is using the exploitation of human rights to make money because advertising managers think feminism is what sells in 2016. The “empowering” video is merely a scam to get people thinking H&M is this holy place that puts every type of woman on a pedestal, but in reality, many of its stores don’t even have plus-sized sections.
Promoting human rights was not on the minds of the creators of the campaign. They were probably thinking “Feminism and body positivity are really popular topics today, let’s incorporate that into our autumn campaign and to dupe people to make as much money as possible.”
“They just want to capitalize on the idea of empowering females in order to sell their clothes. But feminism isn’t a trend to be enjoyed for autumn 2016, nor is it a privilege that is only supposed to be accessible to women who can afford to shop,” according to the Global Hobo article.
Don’t be tricked by companies exploiting feminism to gain profit. And don’t assume people are always genuine in their actions and decisions.
Although this video was somewhat a scam, it has opened the floor for other conversations about women and human rights.
Women don’t need multi-billion dollar clothing companies telling them it’s OK to be heavy, wear no makeup, have muscles, slouch and end stereotypes. We can do that on our own.
Email Laura Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org