Why we're calling bullshit on FCKH8's F-Bombs for Feminism campaign

October 23, 2014
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It’s no surprise that the FCKH8 video of a bunch of tweenies swearing like sailors has gone viral. It’s unique, it’s in your face and it’s rude – all in the name of raising awareness for gender equality. Pretty gnarly right?

Except that it’s not. It’s about making money by selling their ‘activism’ gear. And while the message behind the video is noble, the video itself is about as good for feminism as Perez Hilton. You know, the guy who judged a beauty pageant and called a contestant a ‘dumb bitch’, tweeted upskirts of Miley Cyrus and posted uncensored versions of the Jennifer Lawrence nudes.

Note that this is a fitting analogy given that FCKH8 seem stoked on the fact that Perez Hilton “publically talked about” their brand.

It’s not that brands making progressive values ‘cool’ is in itself a bad thing. What is a bad thing however is them profiting off feminism and pretending the video, titled Potty-Mouthed Princesses Use Bad Words For A Good Cause, is actually more about the "good cause" than the money.

In reality, the entire video is just an ad. But that’s OK, because they’re donating a whole $5 of every sale (items costing as much as $37USD) to unspecified feminist charities. Let’s not forget that advertising the fact they they’re donating is in itself a marketing technique – and people who really want their money going to feminist charities could donate the whole $37 and then make their own iron-on tee for a fraction of the cost.

Now let’s ignore the fact that the video’s just an ad and that FCKH8 are scumbags (we’ll get to that), because the content of the video at best does nothing, and at worst, hinders gender equality.

The thing about campaigns that attempt to go viral by being ultra-rude and in your face is that they really only preach to the choir, and in this case, offer no solution. The video itself makes a number of complaints about the institutionalised oppression of women, namely the wage gap, the existence of sexual assault, and the notion that girls should ‘be pretty’.

The closest thing to a suggestion of how we might fix these issues is to ‘stop men raping’. Like we haven’t been unsuccessfully trying to do that for a while now. And like rapists give a shit what a bunch of swearing eight year olds have to say.

Instead they subvert their own values by filling their website with only skinny, attractive models modelling their brand.

Furthermore, you’re never going to get anyone to agree with you by offending them. The plight of feminism these days is no longer about awareness, it’s about the normalisation of equality. People have heard these complaints time and time again. But is the message of this video powerful enough to change someone’s mind? Of course not.

I’m personally not offended by the video, I just think it’s dumb (children annoy me).  From the point of a middle aged sexist, however, the profanity and use of children in this video gives them a perfect excuse to ignore the message and attack the authors for their questionable ethics. Ethics such as making (what are generally perceived as) innocent children swear like sailors in an ad for a for-profit organisation, that has been scripted by adults.

The fact that the women who appear later in the video profess to be “what a feminist looks like” makes it easier for sexists to dismiss all feminists as people like this.

Finally, let’s not forget that FCKH8 are notoriously scummy. Owned by Synergy Media, FCKH8 have received negative attention in past for similarly profiting out of the events in Ferguson, before ragging on the anti-racism charity Race Forward for pointing this out, accusing them of “Click-baiting, Race-baiting, Homophobia, Minimizing Ferguson Residents, Trivializing Breast Cancer Awareness Efforts & Distorting Facts to Get Views & Donations.” A bit rich coming from a group who enlist little girls into their click-bait schemes and use racist stereotyping to sell shit.

In short, don’t fall for this shit. If you want your money going to feminist charities, then give your money to feminist charities – don’t let these scumbags profit from you having morals and a want for equality.

Sam Caldwell

Sam is a UTS journalism student with experience in radio and written online media. He enjoys writing opinion and news features and tweets at @samcaldwell5.