Marisa Meltzer’s essay ‘Crying Game’ in this month’s edition of Elle asks us to rethink how we look at crying – especially in terms of women. Meltzer suggests that crying “is having a bit of a feminist moment” as more women embrace the healing abilities of a good weep. This highlights the beginning of a shift away from the notion of crying as a display of weakness, or loss of control.
Displaying and owning vulnerability rather than masking it got us thinking about how brands could tap into emotional honesty when communicating with women. Many brands have adopted the very aspirational ‘Superwoman’ image in their communications – women who are strong and infallible, women who just get stuff done (think Nike and Sure). But, just as women aren’t just emotional wrecks, neither should they feel the pressure to be constantly running around throwing positivity into the atmosphere. We love that brands are embracing women’s ability to be strong and fierce, but we think that maybe everything has just got a bit, well, shouty. Sometimes women don’t want to go trekking through a jungle in Peru. Sometimes they just want to watch rubbish telly and eat Hobnobs. And maybe even have a little cry.
We think brands need to bear in mind that women experience a myriad of emotional states. Sometimes women are strong, sometimes they laugh, sometimes they cry – but brands need to interact with all of these sides in order to communicate authentically with them. We loved the beautifully shot Kleenex advert a few years ago which featured Tom Hardy having a good sob, and feel that brands could learn from this use of honest emotion when speaking to women. Campaigns such as This Girl Can and Dove’s Real Beauty embrace women’s imperfections and emotional honesty, which are also celebrated in books such as Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl. We’d love to see this honesty taken further, and for brands to interact with emotional rawness in a way that embraces the wide range of women’s experience and emotions.