Winning Poster Has a Message for Non-Feminists

If you believe in "human rights, individual rights and equality for all," you're probably a feminist. So reads the winning design in the "Feminism is for Everyone" poster contest sponsored by women's website VITAMIN W, The 3 Percent Conference and Miss Representation. "If not that's okay ... we're moving forward without you," reads the blue ribbon winner, designed by Mariam Guessous.

The competition was created to "break misconceptions about feminism and communicate the movement in a new way," according to VITAMIN W. Winner Guessous, an art director for a New York advertising agency, said she really wants "people ask themselves the question am I or am I not [a feminist]? It’s not a right or wrong answer, its a choice."

VITAMIN W et al. aren't the only ones trying to "rebrand feminism" lately. For its November 2013 issues, Elle UK paired three ad-agencies with three feminist organizations to create a series of ads "rebranding feminism." An organization called We are the XX is trying to brand feminism for Gen Y. Glamour recently called feminism "The New Do," like it's leopard print or purple lipstick—something wacky you could try on for an evening.

There's no doubt a lot of people still harbor misconceptions about feminism, and it's disappointing to see so many totally feminist celebrities and public figures shy away from the label. But as Callie Beusman wrote at Jezebel earlier this month: "Treating feminism as a "brand" — and trying to help that brand achieve mainstream success...sounds a lot less like changing dominant culture and much more like capitulating to it."

Jane Caro at Australia's Woman's Agenda may have put it best:

Feminism is no more a brand than Catholicism or Islam or liberalism or atheism. All of them are ways of viewing the world. They can – and indeed do – change and evolve over time but via a natural evolution that occurs organically, driven by those who passionately believe, not by the phony, please-everyone, marketing-think that goes into re-branding.

You can see all of the semi-finalist posters and videos from the VITAMIN W contest here.