Ever strolled down the street, only to come across an annoyingly sexist billboard with no one to share your indignation with other than your 7 month-old chihuahua? Well, the dog days are over! Thanks to the #NotBuyingIt app, you can kiss those lonely half-whispered feminist rants goodbye.
Launched by MissRepresentation.org, the new app will allow people to identify, photograph, map, and share sexist advertisements with a community of equally outraged people. The app will give users the ability to share images, see what others are sharing, rate the content, and communicate with the companies directly through Twitter. In other words, it will kind of be like a centralized, peer-reviewed, crowd-sourced complaint department for all companies that boldly continue to use sexism to sell their products. So put down the pitchforks and pick up your smart phones — let’s get this virtual pose together and fight some injustice (and don’t forget your pup)!
MissRepresentation.org, a non-profit social action campaign and media organization, is not new to awesome digital campaigning. They introduced the #NotBuyingIt hashtag on Twitter in 2011, when they encouraged people to tweet their disdain for sexist advertisements. During this year’s Super Bowl alone, the hashtag generated more than 10,000 tweets and reached over 4 million people. GoDaddy received more than 7,500 #NotBuyingIt tweets for their grossly misogynistic ad. Imran Siddiquee, Social Media and Communications Director at MissRepresentation told PolicyMic that the #NotBuyingIt app will make activism easy and accessible to anyone with a smart phone, regardless of how social media savvy they are. He explains:
"There are, in truth, millions and millions who want gender equality and don't want to see sexism in media. We want this app in all of their hands — giving them a chance to easily express that perspective, be heard and to do so with the knowledge that they are not alone"
In a way, the modern app inspires itself from traditional guerrilla feminist tactics like those employed by other campaigns such as “Sale Pub Sexiste” where people were encouraged to slap stickers on sexist advertisements they encountered in public spaces.
The #NotBuyingIt app distinguishes itself by using cutting-edge technology to make its tactics more sophisticated (and legal too!). Imran Siddiquee explains:
"One of the coolest and simplest things the App will be able to do is paste "#NotBuyingIt" on any image you rate as harmful — kind of like virtual graffiti. Then you share that new image far and wide. We really believe that it's through creating new media like this that we can counter the influence of the tons of sexist images we consume each day […] I see it as building a global resistance — one that simultaneously educates the public, connects the most passionate activists and puts increasing pressure on those creating the harmful stuff to change practices."
Why is this important? MissRepresentation.org explains that the average teenage girl spends 11 hours interacting with media every single day and that many of the images “depict women in a degrading light, perpetuate unrealistic body ideals, or use extreme stereotypes of masculinity to define men.”
It's time we start collectively opposing a system that allows these damaging messages to dominate our social world. If you think these companies are too big to fail, you're wrong. If you think your voice doesn't matter, you're even more wrong! Digital platforms like the #NotBuyingIt app serve as a collective megaphone that makes all our voices louder and stronger.
Imran Siddiquee reminds us that:
“There are so many of us online who challenge the media's depictions of gender daily, but it's about bringing everyone together to amplify the criticism and effectively direct it towards those in positions to make changes.”
Will you make your opinion matter? Will you let it be heard? Get the app on your phone when it launches next year, and see how far your voice can take you. You may be surprised to find that a future free of sexist advertisement is closer than you think.
Donate to the campaign here.
Let me know what you think on Twitter: @feministabulous