Wrangler ad focusing on women's 'bums' sparks charges of 'false feminism' in UK

The brand was trying to be empowering, but too much attention on the posteriors of powerful women may have had the opposite effect

A new film from Wrangler in the UK attempts to confound female stereotypes by proclaiming they are more than their "bums." But the clip's obsessive focus on rear-ends has prompted accusations that it sexualizes women more than it empowers them. 

The "#MoreThanABum" European campaign features Grammy award-winning singer Kimbra, who talks to successful women about being "more than a bum."

The short film sees Kimbra compose a song which includes samples of the women saying the word "bum" after speaking to Olympic volleyball champion Francesca Piccinini, transgender activitist Paris Lees and Nikeata Thompson, the dancer and choreographer.

But the ad prompted a wave of negative comments after it was posted on Facebook last Friday, saying that it achieved the opposite effect by focusing on women’s bums. 

We Are Pi, the Amsterdam agency behind the ad, said the message of the campaign was to "enact a change in the cultural conversation, away from simply aesthetics and towards a deeper understanding of achievement and inspiration." Anne Fleming is the creative lead, while Brett de Vos directed the spot through Mr Frank.

Jessica Perri, the head of strategy at We Are Pi, said: "This campaign idea came from a women-led team of strategist, creative and client to make an ad about jeans that are cut specifically for each size – that’s not typical which is why the line is called 'Body Bespoke.'"

"We looked around and all the current ads showed women doing yoga and ballet in their jeans or worse nothing at all. So we wanted to make a fashion campaign that featured real women achieving their goals."

"The concept that 'I am more than just my physical body' is not meant to inform women of this extremely obvious concept," she continued. "It is meant to inform the fashion industry, the marketers, people like us who choose what imagery is part of the cultural dialogue."

"It certainly has created a cultural dialogue! Even for those who misinterpreted the meaning, we love your spirit! Help us to evolve fashion advertising to a new place where what a woman achieves in her jeans is recognised, too. We are women truly rooting for women and we stand by the original intention of this campaign 100%."

Wrangler’s new denim range, called Body Bespoke, aims to go against the fashion industry norm of using model proportions as the base for jeans. 

Speaking about the campaign, Ilaria Pasquinelli, the marketing director at Wrangler, said: "We’ve designed the Body Bespoke jeans for the 'Born ready' woman who’s got more to do than worry about her bum all day. We want her to focus on what really matters in her life, with what really makes her her."

Wrangler was unable to immediately respond when asked to comment on the ad's criticism on social media.

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