10 campaigns to combat: Race, Gender and Cultural Stereotypes

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We live in a World that is not void of differences and dissimilarities. At each point of time, we are more than ready to pull out our swords and battle someone who differs from us and consolidation becomes an alien idea.

At the same time, while we enjoy the breeze at the top; of our “privilege” and our happiness – but sometimes, really, we have no air of what goes on at the bottom. The suppressed, the discriminated, the separated – we discriminate on varying topics, that too, not only one. Our prejudices surround us, absorb us and at the end, we are nothing but our differences. But let’s first understand what’s privilege? 

We all know about #blacklivesmatter. So we all subconsciously also know that race, gender, cultural stereotypes, and sexuality are all real issues today that are dividing us. And that is exactly what these 10 campaigns below have aimed to combat. They have acknowledged these differences but they do not wish to remain silent. The following campaigns have bought people together to achieve one thing and one thing only: Equality. 

#1 – #autocompletethetruths

UN Women’s 2013 campaign, #autocompletethetruth was a campaign on a massive global level. The idea of this campaign was simple; to show similar phrases typed into Google and put them over the image of a woman. These phrases consisted of gendered stereotypes such as “women shouldn’t…” and the rest was left to Google’s auto complete feature. 4 women were photographed from across the world and these results were placed over their mouths to symbolize how women are globally silenced.

These phrases reflected upon the pre-existing notions revolving around women and such results were testimony to the gender stereotyping that continues to exist and the rights that women are denied. Being an initiative of the United Nations, this campaign spread far and wide, with 1,16,000 shares on Facebook, earning the title of the “Most Shared Ad of 2013”.

#2 – The 100 women initiative

An Indian initiative – “the 100 women initiative” was launched by the Government of India after the online success of #selfiewithdaughter started in a village in Haryana. This initiative sought to recognize and select 100 female achievers in the country. This initiative was a collaboration of the Ministry of Women and Child Development with Facebook, aiming to acknowledge the differences that women have made in diverse communities and fields across the subcontinent.

The importance of such initiatives stems from the ugly truth related to gender issues in India. With increasing gender based violence, sexual objectification, harassment, sex-selective abortion, dowry system, the plight of women in India and across the world, there seems to be a list with no end. Such initiatives help raise awareness about gender equality and though a cultural revolution is still missing, campaigns like these become a necessity.

#3 – The #HeForShe campaign

A revolutionary step towards gender equality, another initiative by UN women; #heforshe is aiming to achieve gender equality in its true sense. The #heforshe campaign invites men and individuals of all genders to stand in solidarity with women to create a bold, visible and united force for gender equality. The #heforshe campaign website is an interactive website, encouraging each and every individual to be an ambassador of gender equality.gender-campaigns - streettrotterIt allows an individual to submit their email address and receive daily updates of the campaign. It deals with problems like education, violence, representation in politics, health, workplace, and educates individuals across the world of the importance of gender equality. So remember, your actions make it real.

#4 – I will what I want

A campaign native to the realm of sports, ‘I will what I want’ changed perceptions of female athletes. In 2014, Under Armor, a company previously known to portray the image of a “tough guy” in their advertisements teamed up with ballerina Misty Copeland to give birth to this campaign.

The Ad began with the dancer facing rejection, being told “you don’t have the body to be a ballerina” followed by Misty’s miraculous performance on stage. An emblem of grace and muscular strength, Misty Copeland showed the world the power of determination. After being rejected for having a body deemed “unfit” for a dancer, this ballerina showed the world something they had never seen before. This campaign encouraged various female athletes across the world and drove them to perfection. It sent out the message that a woman can achieve whatever she wishes to and the obstacles that face her can be overcome by sheer willpower; A girl CAN.

#5 – Pink or Blue

This video is a narrative of the deep-set gender stereotypes present in our society. It explains how we correlate gender to certain traits, actions, behaviors, toys or even colors. While pink denotes a dainty girl, blue denotes a strong boy and for us, any deviance from these norms wreaks havoc in society.

We teach girls and boys their roles from the minute they are born. A girl must be dainty, must by shy, must have particular traits. A boy must be tough, must be assertive, must be dominant. A girl should play with dolls and pick daisies, a boy who does the same – he’s not a boy we tell him. Our society is so obsessed with gender conformity that now these roles are so inherent, we don’t even realize it and subconsciously reinforce them. This video aims to combat those gender roles that force a boy and girl to stick to one particular character as they come into this world.

#6 – National Geographic’s DNA test

This video traces the life journey of six individuals and their relation with race. These individuals, when in solidarity have always struggled with one aspect of life: their origin and their race. Growing up, these people have always felt different and been treated differently with people constantly pestering them with questions related to race and ethnicity.

National Geographic in this video shows these individuals their genetic thread. 120 people in the world have the same genetic thread including these 6 people. On being shown the results and being told that they have the same results as 5 other people, these individuals finally feel a sense of belonging, a sense of collectivity: something that they had not previously felt. Watch now:

#7 – We’re better than that

This campaign started by students of Rochester University aimed to make a university wide effort to combat racism. The initiative started in 2016 aimed to first raise awareness and spark talks about racism and then further combat the ever so prevalent presence of it. Guided by the message “We’re better than that”, students and faculty members took an active step to combat racism in various ways. Grey T-shirts were printed with an anti-racist message slapped across it and hundreds of students, faculty and officials wore them to campaign against racism.gender-campaigns - streettrotter

#8 – Racism. It stops with me.

An Australian initiative, this campaign aims to combat racism in Australia advocating that it has no place in the country. It encourages each individual to take a step to eradicate discrimination and prejudice stemming from race. In order to do so, this campaign first sets out to educate each and every individual about racism and then its implication.

This has been done through various educational talks, videos and articles – each of them explicitly explaining the effect of racism and why it must be stopped. This campaign has also been endorsed by numerous brands and companies all ambassadors to end racism.

#9 – White, Black or Yellow

The United Colors of Benetton, an infamous brand – as some may quote. The name, though may seem like yet another ordinary name is one with a story; a back-story that was not only relevant at the time of its inauguration but relevant to this date.

This back-story is reflected in its campaign: black, white and yellow. This graphic ad campaign publicized images of three hearts each labeled differently. The first – black; second – white and the third – yellow. These hearts all looked like normal hearts with no clear distinction besides the labels.gender-campaigns - streettrotterThe idea that the brand wished to popularize through this campaign was that though we might have different skins and different origins, we are all the same from the inside. We have the same anatomy, same origin of species and share the same land. The colors of our skins are not what separate us, what separates us is our thoughts and our prejudice. This is why the brand was named “United Colors of Benetton” and not “Colors of Benetton”.

#10 – All that we share

This last campaign is one that brings tears to the eyes. Difficult to put into words, this initiative is best explained visually. Denmark’s TV2 – “All that we share” campaign begins with a big empty room with demarcated boxes and in these boxes stand people; people that have a different religion, people with different beliefs, people with different origins, people with different hometowns, people of a different era, people that have never seen that era. All these differences and all this categorization and one would believe that no one has anything in common.

In a  world where we are told we’re different, we forget that we’re all the same. We all share something or the other beginning with this very planet we call home. Whether you’re rich or poor, you’re man or woman, you’re Asian or Caucasian, you have a god; you don’t, at the end of the day what does it really boil down to? Differences or all that we share?


Empower yourself. Read more on the 10 Self-Esteem Social Media Campaigns that are changing beauty perceptions today.