Gender, Culture, Consumers and Markets: Critical Historical and Sociocultural Feminist

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Research Project

Text of Gender, Culture, Consumers and Markets: Critical Historical and Sociocultural Feminist

Gender, Culture, Consumers and Markets: Critical Historical and Sociocultural Feminist

Nike: The Girl effect

Media Literacy study, uncovering The Girls Effect: limiting effect.

Table of contents

Introduction and description of the case3Approach3Chapter 1 production3Chapter 2 textual analysis3Chapter 3 Audience reception4Chapter 4 Discussion5Chapter 5 Consequences5Chapter 6 Strategies6Attachments7Attachment 1: Glossary7Attachment 2: Visual Material10Attachment 3: Detail description of the case12Attachment 4: Alternative Strategy13Reference list14

Introduction and description of the caseNike practices Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Global Corporate Social Engagement (GSCE) and Cause branding. The Girl Effect (TGE) is one of the famous GSCE of Nike that creates a line between CSR and philanthropy.TGE is a global movement to help girls increasing social awareness. The main theme of this movement is to end poverty for and by young girls, their families, societies, countries and the world as well. The main message is that when a girl in the developing world is enabled to realize her full potential, she isn't the only one who escapes poverty. She brings her family, community and country with her, so by investing in girls potential, the cycle of poverty can be broken. Therefore the phrase Lift the developing world out of poverty. By making girls visible and changing their social and economic dynamics by providing them with resources like education, health and economic investment (GirlEffect.org , 2008, 2011 ). See attachment three for details.

ApproachCore aspects of the analysis are gender, gender mainstreaming and diversity. Explanation of these underlined core aspects and theories can be found in the glossary in attachment one. In attachment two the visual materials analysed can be found. The goal of the analysis is to answer the research question; Does TGE aimed at young, real and or imagined troubles of represented Non-Western girls result in offsetting differences and domination between Western girls and Non-Western girls?. The approach used for the analysis of the chosen material is by the study of media literacy with additional theories. To analyse gender and diversity according to media literacy a division is made between chapters of; production, textual analysis, audience reception, results, consequences and strategies as a solution. Each chapter analyses theories by addressing gender and diversity whereas there is a distinction made between Western and Non-Western girls. Additionally inclusion and exclusion are addressed and its problematic consequences with strategies to transform gender and structural inequalities.

Chapter 1 ProductionThe producers of TGE are Nike Foundation, NoVo Foundation, United Nations Foundation, Coalition for Adolescent Girls and department for international development (DfiD). The producers could be seen as the dominant class since they are part of the Western privileged group.Circulation is done by internet ads, charity events, presentations and souvenirs with images of the campaign on global level. In December 2009, Oprah Winfrey aired TGE and the exposure on her show result in a big increase in Facebook followers and Youtube views. In March 2011: The Clock is Ticking video won TED Ads Worth Watching Award. Whereas the weaker class are the poor girls from countries like Kenya, Nicaragua and Afghanistan (GirlEffect, 2011). Consumption is done by donating and taking action by sharing awareness about the cause (Shapingyouth.org, 2012).

Chapter 2 Textual analysisWith the textual analysis , semiotics approach noticeable is that TGE movement uses many communicative signs. For example the position of the black young girl in her daily routine, see figure two. Important signifiers of the text image are Call to action and This is the moment to make girls impossible to ignore. See figures in attachment one. Image three has texts; Illiteracy doesnt look good on a resume, And pregnancy doesnt look good on a little girl and A good job would be nice summed up in the image. (Girleffect.org 2008-2011) By analysing the concept signified girls are the signifiers with associated meanings. The denotative meaning is that the girls portrayed are young, black and standing wearing headscarfs. The connotative meaning is that these young girls are vulnerable and their economic, social and cultural position is not good, they need to be saved. Or perhaps standing, waiting to be saved before the hardships arrive. This is debatable because it is different per person how they associate these images with their own thoughts. Connotative meanings are there to create emotions and feelings by the viewers. Noticeable with representation of gender is exclusion since only young black girls are included and no older diverse women nor even boys or older man. Since girls are appealing and mostly used to gain sympathy for a cause this could be seen as gender mainstreaming. Besides gender mainstreaming is mostly used for economic gain. (Frey et al. 2006; McRobbie, 2009). Furthermore the cause is about young girls so it is important to stress the employing differences throughout in order make visible that there is a symbolic and grounded power relation occurring from the United States and Europe (Whitlock, 2007).

Chapter 3 Audience reception TGE target audiences are consumers in the global North (girls), large companies, governments, Nike and helping foundation employees. With this project Non-Western girls are portrayed as vulnerable or the weaker group who needs saving. The audience Western girl can be the savoir by contributing or taking action. They can help Non-Western girls and others in the future. The Western girl is represented as the dominant group who has the power and means to do something. It is important to not only assume but to draw up theories to analyse if there are really offsetting differences and domination between these Western and Non-western target groups. Since the purpose is audience participation for this cause this could lead to the blending of interests and ideals from individual identities through brand communication. Seen as cause branding, whereas TGE blends it communication signs with that of the audience. The visuals signifier to take action, use social media and so on results in that cause branding also becomes self branding. The use of girls to gain sympathy by gender mainstreaming is in relation with smart economics, which rationalises that investing in girls will lead to more efficient profitable outcomes. Seen with Girls have the potential to add billions of dollars to GDP. Additionally the strategy missionary girl power can be applied as first world girls ( Western) can be constructed as the savoir of their ( Non-western) global sister. The text Development agenda: its time to stop poverty before it starts is presented as common accepted by other classes. Uncovering hegemony is useful, is Nike wide-spreading to be responsible for Non-western girls and therefore practicing their ideology? The interests and values of the dominant group then are seen in the visuals Economically empowered girls can stop poverty before it starts(GirlEffect, 2008-2011). The message empowerment of girls is done by making them more profitable. The ideology then is the Western girls are responsible to make Non-Western girls profitable in relation with privileged irresponsibility.

Chapter 4 DiscussionA problematizing concept is cause branding because is the program driving the message and not the brand? A counterargument could be that Nikes logo is not always visible in the visuals. However the brand Nike is associated with TGE. In relationship with smart economics it is questionable whether it is about profitable outcomes, good will or a win-win situation. The use of gender mainstreaming and smart economics has led to the exclusion of males and older females in the campaigns. Adding that on the website the question was asked why girls? Why not boys too? . With the answer the girl effect exist to help everyone and everyone includes boys( GirlEffect, 2011). Another discussion is about missionary girl power, hegemony and its ideology in the main visual messages. Pending that represented Non-Western girls only need money for education from the dominant Western girls who have the means to stop poverty before it starts. Contradictory there is, did poverty then not already start? And is the ideology therefore to Non-western girls to be profitable, or is it about helping their needs and what these girls want? The ideals here of hegemony is that the dominant countries are responsible for economical empowerment. Revolution will start by educating these Non-Western girls. Important is the bigger picture so acting and caring for others by giving care by personal responsibility. The exclusion of other factors are key in this concept. The only way a real revolution will start will not only be by donating for education but also bettering other factors, or other people. Raising awareness is not enough, although the relatively privileged (Western) then dont ignore forms of hardships of the unprivileged (Non-Western). The act of personal responsibility is still disreputable.

Chapter 5 Consequences TGEs raising awareness doesnt take representing diversity into account as seen with the use of gender mainstreaming, smart economics and missionary girl power. Concerning is invest in a girl and she will do the rest related to smart economics. Using smart economics lead to broadening structural inequalities like discrimination of gender, race and class ( Chant, Sweetman, 2012). Regarding girls as the solution to fix the world can lead to overstate what these girls are able of in a global way defined by on-going hardships like gender bias and barriers to their means. The images send out messages of