Clothing company Wrangler recently released a new advert hoping to reassure women that they have more to offer than their looks and their body parts – specifically, their bums. The three-minute ad for their Europe campaign, #MoreThanABum, features singer Kimbra and a group of professional women – from journalist and transgender activist Paris Lees to Olympic volleyball champion Francesca Piccinini – talking about being successful and wanting to be judged for their talents rather than their bodies. So far, so typical for a "feminist" campaign. But, somewhat counterproductively, what follows are several close-up, lingering shots of the women's bums and clips of them repeating the word "bum", which is then turned into a bizarre song.
Unsurprisingly, the campaign has hit a nerve with women on social media because, well, we don't need to be told that we're more than an arse. Shortly after the ad was released, hordes of people took to Facebook and Twitter to condemn it, at best mocking it as "cringeworthy"; at worst, denouncing it as anti-feminist.
Wrangler responded to the criticism on Facebook, in a long, rambling post which read: "We are using the same language that advertisements often have, but turning it on its head: hey, here's a split second of her bum... then... here is a woman who has done all these great things. Our Body Bespoke line was created around this idea: that a line of jeans engineered to look great on everyone's behind means women stop wasting time trying endless models on, so they can move on to what they really want to use their time and energy for. "We as women all want to look good, why deny that? But looking good should never be our main concern - and Wrangler designed the whole Body Bespoke line around precisely that…in this film we are being represented by women who have done many fascinating things with their time. Why not look at their story and not just at the images of their bums? That's what the film really wants to push you to do." But people remain unconvinced.