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The present paper is devoted to the analysis of the goals of a feminist campaign As We Are that is aimed at challenging gender stereotypes that are being promoted by the media and society in the area of fashion. The slogan of the campaign is formulated as “some clothes cost more than you think,” implying that derogatory or stereotypical messages that appear on girls’ clothes can and tend to affect their self-esteem. The campaign’s website informs that 60% of girls think that they are fat (even if they are thin) and that between the grades 6 to ten their self-esteem tends to drop (Canadian Women’s Foundation, n.d.). The vision of the campaign is formulated in the following way: “to bring about real change in the way we think and talk about girls,” girls themselves included (Jones, Butters, Malcolm, Moss, & Stenberg, n.d., p. 3). The campaign is carried out by the Canadian Women’s Foundation (n.d.) together with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
The specific activities of the campaign include carrying out workshops (the guides to which are freely accessible) with girls aged 9-16. The workshops involve lecture, discussions, brainstorming, and the creation of personal T-shirt designs with messages that empower rather than discriminate (Jones et al., n.d.). Currently, the number of unique designs that have been submitted by the girls (which is optional) is over 100; the Canadian Women’s Foundation (n.d.) offers to purchase T-shirts with four of them to spread the knowledge of the initiative and empower girls.
Initially, the internal goals of the campaign consisted of developing and carrying out workshops and beginning the production of the T-shirts that would be designed by the participants. The Canadian Women’s Foundation (n.d.) believes that these objectives have been successfully achieved and is especially proud of the results of the workshops on the individual level (para. 5). However, the campaign is not over yet. The timeline is not clear, but it is apparent that the current goals include the promotion of the workshops idea and vision with the help of ads, T-shirts, and freely distributed materials.
The Workshop Guide of the project defines the goal of the sessions that consists in helping the participants to “identify and challenge stereotypes, particularly those around body image, personal ability, and their own potential in society” (Jones et al., n.d., p. 3). This goal is the short-term, workshop-related, and individual-level one. However, on a larger scale, the campaign also sets the goals of helping girls (participants and not) to hear and recognize their own voice as well as to “change the messages that come from media and society into positive ideas that express girls’ strengths, potential, and inner beauty” (Jones et al., n.d., p. 3). In other words, the long-term goals of the campaign are aimed at the levels of individual, culture, and apparently the organizational (media companies) one as well.
Here, the goals of As We Are are going to be analyzed from the point of view of various applicable criteria to define if they are strategic, that is, suitable for the strategy of the campaign. To this end, a goal needs to be challenging but realistic, specific, measurable, activating, and time-specific (SMART) and possess other qualities that would make it worthwhile and attainable for this particular organization.
The achieved internal goals had been specific, measurable, activating, and realistic. The Canadian Women’s Foundation (n.d.) especially comments on how activating it was, pointing out that the idea proved to be most attractive for the Foundation’s members and volunteers. This aspect also shows that the campaign is in line with the Foundation’s mission and priorities. It appears to be fundable as well, which was facilitated by the enthusiasm of the volunteers. To sum up, the achieved goals seem to correspond to the definition of SMART and illustrate the successfulness of this type of goals.
The new internal goals are noticeably less specific and measurable. Admittedly, there might exist more detailed goals that are known to participants, but from the information that is publically available, it appears that the continuing project has no specific timeline, no quantification means for the goal, and the goal itself is relatively vague: the promotion of the campaign.
Public goals are apparently different from the internal ones. It is obvious that the visionary component in them is stronger than the strategic one. As a result, it is possible to imply that they could have been more specific. However, the workshop-related goal is relatively attainable and realistic due to the fact that the workshop has already proven to be a suitable empowerment tool. The measurement of the gender-related stereotypes awareness is also possible due to the various activities of the workshop that are aimed at applying the new knowledge. Finally, the goal is activating since it involves volunteers, teachers, girls, and potentially parents. This aspect enables (makes realistic) the long-term objective of improving stereotype awareness of the participants and those who come in contact with them. However, both long-term goals are admittedly difficult to measure, and the last one (media message change) is rather nonspecific and lacks the time-frame. It would not be correct to insist that it is unrealistic; also, it is apparently challenging, measurable, and activating, but the lack of specific expressions turns it too vision-like. Also, this goal does not appear to be directly addressed.
The current goals (as presented to the public eye) appear to be more visionary rather than strategic. As a result, they might benefit from the definition of time frames and measurement tools. The goal of media message change appears to need substantial modifications. It can be suggested that the campaign expects this outcome to become a side-effect of the transformations in the culture and society, but since the intention of changing the media message is explicitly stated in the Guide, it would be expected to be pursued as a separate goal or removed from the set of goals and, possibly, left as the part of the vision. The specific goals for this vision might include the attempts at involving fashion industry participants in the campaign; after all, the idea of equality can be turned into a fashion trend nowadays.
The presented goals include only those that are publically available, and it is not unlikely that participants have more specific objectives and measurement tools for them. Still, the present analysis allows suggesting the following conclusions. The initial internal goals of the campaign had been very well-defined and corresponded to most of the SMART criteria while also being in line with the Foundation’s mission. This fact might account for their success. The public goals, however, are visionary rather than strategic, and they might be made more specific. Also, the current stage of the campaign’s development appears to be difficult to define: some of the goals have already been achieved, but the campaign proceeds to work with less specific new ones. The experience of the initial goals indicates that the determination of SMART objectives is likely to bring positive results. Therefore, the new objectives that are admittedly visionary and activating might need modifications.
Canadian Women’s Foundation. (n.d.). As We Are Project. Web.
Jones, L., Butters, A.M., Malcolm, B., Moss, P., & Stenberg, L. (n.d.). As We Are Project Workshop Guide. Web.