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“Stay woke. Make moves” Branding for a feminist future amidst pandemic precarity

Curran-Troop, H., Gill, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-2715-1867 & Littler, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-8496-6192 (2022). “Stay woke. Make moves” Branding for a feminist future amidst pandemic precarity. In: Gwynne, J. (Ed.), The Cultural Politics of Femvertising. (pp. 141-162). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-99154-8


This chapter builds on critiques of femvertising (Gill & Elias, 2014), radical consump-tion and anti-consumerism (Littler, 2009; Binkley & Littler, 2011), cool or woke capital-ism (McGuigan, 2009; Winnubst, 2015) and commodity activism (Mukherjee & Banet-Weiser, 2012) to look at the emergence of several new outspokenly feminist creative enterprises which seek to influence brand strategies and wider culture. Including the ‘female entrepreneur’ podcast FemGems and international co-working space for wom-en The Wing. The chapter focuses in particular on Goalgirls, which styles itself as a team of ‘co-rebelles’ and ‘disruptors’ seeking to challenge sexist advertising, ‘pale-male-stale hierarchies’ and develop ‘experiential marketing, digital campaigns, brand building and activism for a conscious generation’. Set up in 2017 in Berlin, the organi-sation uses the tagline ‘we are in the business of female empowerment’ to promote a new and different form of creative agency appealing to clients seeking to profit from feminist and ‘woke’ consumers.

In this chapter we look at how the Goalgirls’ “co-creagency” has worked across multiple tensions, tensions which have been exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic. These include conflicts between corporate and activist identities, between individual and collective working, and between slowing down or speeding up ‘productivity cul-ture’. We examine their distinctive ways of working and organising, their campaigns, and their self-presentation in the advertising, branding, and marketing mediascape. How do feminism, activism and anti-capitalist values operate in this contradictory space? How are radical politics being reconfigured in a branded landscape? In explor-ing the precarious labour, feminism and entrepreneurialism that coexists within Goal-girls we identify a novel hybrid – a ‘community-industry’ (O’Neill, 2018) that is shaped both by feminist principles and goals and by the ethos of neoliberal capitalism. In the process this article contributes to the emerging body of critical scholarship on femver-tising and corporate ‘wokeness’ as well as to contemporary understandings of cultural and creative organisations.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Culture & the Creative Industries
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