Redefining the Language Around Women, Strength and Power
Posted on May 03 2017
Rose & Willard means, literally, Feminine & Bold (in old English). This is written into everything about us - from our aesthetic to our spirit.
Because these words are at the centre of our brand, we find ourselves frequently discussing the language used to describe women. This was especially the case when we were responding to feedback to our Confidence campaign. We discuss the response to that photo shoot in our next blog.
There are many words that when applied to women acquire a different meaning than when they are attributed to men. For example, an assertive woman can be interpreted as bossy. This is not the case for men. Similarly, strong-willed. And there are others.
Looking up the synonyms of Feminine & Bold, we were inspired by those of the latter but rather disappointed with the former. Synonyms of Feminine are words such as soft, dainty, tender, effeminate, weak. Conversely, the synonyms for Masculine are words such as brave, gallant, hardy, bold and powerful.
In response we have decided to adopt only positive and empowering words into the language of our brand. We want to redefine what Feminine means and for it to be associated with strength and dynamism. We do not think this will lead to a masculinisation, rather we believe it will enrich what it is to be Feminine.
We now use these words as labels for our styles. We want our customers to be reminded that they are wearing pieces with names such as, Fortitude, Valiant, Confident, Determined, Worthy, etc. We want it to be a reminder to Rose & Willard women that this is who they are.
On occasion we have been told that our approach is too forthright and we should be more reserved in our points of view. This led to a discussion in the team and, in particular, the words used to describe women that are considered complimentary but which perhaps are not. An example would be Demure. The Oxford dictionary definition of this word is - '(of a woman and her behaviour) reserved, modest and shy'. Interestingly female fashion models in demure poses are ubiquitous and often well received.
We will continue to use Feminine & Bold language to reinforce the understanding that these words can be attributed to women as much as to men, and on an equal basis.
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