Pantene Philippines has taken a page from the book of Dove (using their product to breed empowerment), and done it even better: in an ad for regular 'ol shampoo, the labels most women face ("selfish," "bossy," etc.) are painfully called out, showcasing the double standard still be practiced in the workplace/in society/everywhere. The ad is accurage, it's well done, and it's important — but why do we need a shampoo company to release it?
As most of us are painfully aware, we've got a long way to go before we're equal. There's the wage gap, there's rape culture, there's everyday sexism, and yet it's when these facts are articulated through beauty products we nod along in agreement. True, it's important that Pantene is gunning for the abolishment of the double standard — that's what all companies should do, especially ones that target women. But to play devil's advocate, is it not the beauty industry that at times has been responsible for injustices toward women? Telling us to lose weight, to enhance our skin, to hide blemishes, and, even in the past, to do it "for him"? Are we seeing a revolution here or are we seeing smart marketing? (Remember: Dove and Axe are owned by the same company. One advocates beautiful women, the other . . . well, just take a look at their ads.)
I love beauty products. I like makeup, I like hair products, I like looking on-point — and I'd like if more beauty companies advocated for equality and strength. Obviously, this was a gimmick (because hello, advertising), but it also broke the cardinal marketing rule: it highlighted instances of sexism, then merely flashed the logo at the end — it didn't say "and Pantene will make you a stronger woman" or "and buying Pantene will stop all of this." It won't. Our society has been centuries in the making — buying shampoo isn't going to do much.
But talking about it will. Pantene (a brand) may have aligned itself (smartly) with a cause (the systemic well-being of women), but it also got us talking; the ad got shared, it got talked about, it got posted here — proving just how ingrained this mysogynistic culture is, and how often we as women are the subject of namecalling, labelling, and overall bullshit. If more beauty companies began to follow suit, everyone would win — kind of. Yes, we have years and years of work to do, but makeup and hair could be equal parts about representing yourself as you see fit, and creating awareness and discourse among circles that might not otherwise talk about this. Sexism is everywhere, labelling is everywhere. But in Pantene Philippines' case, they're using their labels to call attention to the most hurtful ones. Maybe it's time this billion-dollar industry commits and decides to do the same.
Watch the Ad: