A hilarious yet outrageous ad is making the rounds again on Twitter, after initially being released last January. Bianco, a Danish shoe company, initially unveiled this ad to point out that, since women's fashion accessories cost more than men's do and it's a gross injustice to have to acquire a different outfit for every occasion, equal pay for equal work isn't enough.
While it's certainly outlandish to the point of nonsensical and begging to be ignored, for all the ad's misguided clips, Bianco actually manages to represent with some accuracy the issues about which many feminists remain outraged.
Of course, the ad comes across as a bit of a parody, although I don't think Bianco intended it that way, since they advocate for temper tantrums and throwing things. One woman throws a hot cup of coffee at a man's face, another throws a pump towards a group of men in a meeting, and the third stomps on a man's car hood.
While it's hard to believe Bianco actually thinks that is the solution to the problem, it's even harder to digest that they think those are the problems feminists should be addressing: Bianco isn't just claiming women don't get paid equally for equal work, they're claiming that's not enough since personal products are priced higher.
Unfortunately, most mainstream feminists spend too much time whining about taxes on tampons, as actress Ashley Judd did during last winter's Women's March on Washington, than they do understanding the basic economics of supply and demand. U.S. News explained the so-called "pink tax" this way:
Some items marketed to women not only cost more but actually contain less of the product because manufacturers make the product smaller and more feminine-looking, an approach called "shrink it and pink it." "Yes, sometimes women do need smaller versions of things, and for jeans and other clothing, we want different cuts and different fashions," says Christine Whelan, director of MORE: Money, Relationships and Equality at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. "But the idea that that equates to somewhere between a 30 to 50 percent price hike is simply playing on the socialized culture that says women need to look a certain way."
What the piece doesn't mention is that women buy into this figuratively and literally and thus, intentionally or not, contribute to the "problem." Women want smaller and prettier products, so companies make those things. Then women buy those things and then manufacturers make more.
It's not feminism or anti-feminism: It's the marketplace — supply and demand. If women don't want to pay more for pink razors, they should do what I've been doing for years: Buy men's razors. They function better and cost less anyway. It's literally a blade—who cares what color the handle is?
Marketplace aside, women do get paid equal pay for equal work, and while it might seem like a burden for women to wear a different outfit for different occasions, why should it be? Wherever could a woman have gotten the idea that fashion is part of the joy of being a woman? (Paging Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Vogue, Redbook, Glamour, StyleWatch, Elle, W, Harper's Bazaar and more.)
Women can't clamor after fashion then complain it costs more — that's like dumping your beat up Town and Country minivan for a 2017 Mercedes and complaining your car payment is higher than it used to be.
Add to all this the fact that there are far more serious atrocities around the globe that women face — terrorism, the Islamic State, genital mutilation, lack of free speech, lack of voting rights, to name a few — and it's pretty hard to take a Danish shoe company's ad about fashion and feminism seriously. If real women weren't actually pitching fits about those things, nobody would.
That's what feminists need to start to understand and navigate if they ever want their movement to make real strides for women.
Nicole Russell is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist in Washington, D.C., who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Spectator's Young Journalist Award.
If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.