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F-bombing kids ad misses the mark
Ad featuring little girls swearing is a lost opportunity, suggests Scott Dunlop.
*Warning: explicit language

There’s an ad enjoying a viral wave right now which features little girls between the ages of six and twelve. The ad, created by is designed to get people interested in buying their feminist t-shirt range- a third of the selling price of the tees goes to five anti-sexist organisations, according to Metro. That’s a fair initiative, but the ad features these girls making some shocking statements designed to get the viewer to sit up. Should little girls be told to say the word “fuck” for effect? I don’t think so.

Some highly relevant points are made in the video as the girls, dressed in clichéd “girly” outfits make jarring statements about society, drawing attention to inequality, gender-based violence (rape and sexual abuse), pay disparity in the workplace and more. All perfectly respectable issues which deserve attention, but the message gets lost in the shock value of the ad.

An example: one child is heard to say “What the fuck? I’m not some pretty fucking helpless princess in distress!” Sure, kid, we get it- you’re as full of potential as the next child, boy or girl. But you sound as precocious as those comedians who rely more on swearing than humour to get laughs.

It’s not about being offended; I swear as much as the next person, but rather the exploitation of children which bothers me. Kids, in general, are encouraged not to swear themselves. Also, the ad relies on the kids commenting on body parts- “ass”, “penis” in an inappropriate/sexualised manner.

I can’t show the ad to my kids. They’d be horrified about the language and they’d miss the point. That’s okay- they’re not the target market. So why use children in an exploitative manner to market a product or message aimed at adults?

Kicking kittens

Not all parents raise their kids the way I do, and I know some parents are totally fine with their kids swearing, but the message in this ad is swallowed up by the shock factor.

Then again, you know that the shock factor is going to lead to clicks. But that end does not necessarily justify the means. If shock value is the most effective way of marketing, we’d be seeing adverts containing porn, snuff scenes and animal cruelty.

Just for the record, if my kids say something sexist, the whole “throw like a girl” concept, I discuss that with them and point out why it’s not a useful turn of phrase. We discuss these issues as adult to child rather than adult to adult. I believe that kids are capable of articulate discussions on most topics, and that feminist issues can be discussed in a rational way which needn't involve aggression.

Check it out (just not if you’re offended by swearing or working in a place where it would be frowned upon!)

F-bombs for Feminism via FCKH8/Vimeo

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Do you agree that the ad’s message is lost in the swearing?

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