by Jordan Rafferty
Facebook and Apple are two leading competitors in their industries, always staying one step ahead of the game. Apple recently released a new iPhone and iPad, while Facebook has surpassed 1.35 billion active users. Both share a competitive nature, so it’s no surprise when they both make the same announcement, creating quite a stir.
Both companies announced a new employee “benefit” for women. They offer female employees $20,000 to cover the cost of two rounds of freezing their eggs. Apple released a statement saying, “We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families.”
My first reaction to these announcements was a positive one. I commend them for being ahead of the game (or so I initially thought. A few other companies offer similar benefits). Women are now having children much later in life because they want to focus on their careers or finding the right partner. Facebook and Apple noticed this trend. Yet, 43 percent of women leave their careers because they have children (according to theatlantic.com). By offering to pay for the delay of children in a female employees life, they are able to keep their staff longer, and it’s enabling women to rise up to higher positions because they stay with the company for longer periods of time.
Social media reaction
So, I am really excited about this announcement, and then I get on Twitter, Facebook and Google News. Some people do not like this one bit. There has been far more backlash than either company anticipated. Here are a couple tweets I saw on my feed:
People are concerned that Apple and Facebook have the ulterior motive of forcing women to put the company first and a family last. This is a concern that could address by communicating to their publics on the issue. Some are also concerned with the health risks of the procedure itself.
I went from excited to sad for Apple and Facebook in a matter of minutes. In my heart I believe the companies are trying to do the right thing, but I can’t help but think that they should have done the research to anticipate the negative reaction. Remember the first step of the RACE model? Research, Research, Research. You never know what you will come across. The smallest detail could make or break you.
I read a number of the articles on Google News and,according to alternet.org, hyperstimulation of the ovaries (the freezing process) uses what some see as an aggressive and potentially dangerous hormone therapy that uses non-FDA regulated drugs. Those opposed believe a number of things can go wrong with this process, like punctured ovaries or organs, abdominal bleeding and other complications. Bloggers and Twitter users alike are concerned with the risks to the procedure and are questioning why Facebook and Apple even agreed to offer such a thing to their employees. Some feel that by offering to pay for this the companies are basically saying that families are not important.
Communicate with your publics
I searched to see if Apple or Facebook ever responded to the negative reactions, but so far I haven’t found a thing. The fact that I haven’t seen a response concerns me. Sure, there are other things going on with the companies, but they should be communicating with their audiences. As a PR specialist I would suggest responding early. Tweet back to those concerned and reassure their audiences that they do, in fact, care about families. They are just offering to pay for the procedure, and not every female employee has to do. Like Apple said in their statement when they made the announcement, they are empowering women. There are women who want to hold off on having children, and Apple and Facebook are making that possible.
by Ana Guzman
As I was looking through the Victoria’s Secret catalog I saw a gorgeous two piece swimsuit and realized there is no way I’m going to look like the model wearing it. Not only did it ruin my dinner (making me feel guilty for every bite I took) but it affected my self-esteem. Why not have models that look like average curvy women instead?
Swimsuits for All
Swimsuits for All is an online swimsuit company dedicated to helping women find the best fitting swimsuit that will make them feel beautiful and confident in their own body. Its mission is to make swimsuit shopping enjoyable rather than dreadful. To show that women don’t have to look like models on Sports Illustrated to look great in a swimsuit, the company launched a campaign recreating this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover with plus size models. Its campaign video shows women sharing their thoughts about swimsuit models in magazines and how they should show different body types instead of the usual tall and thin models. The women in this video look happy and confident, creating the sense that it’s okay to have curves and finding the perfect swimsuit will only accentuate the beauty in those curves.
Real beauty, real curves
In the past, several companies have launched similar campaigns. The lingerie brand Aerie launched its #AerieReal campaign in which models were not photoshopped to show their true beauty. Aerie focused this campaign in young women and their goals was to create a better sense of body confidence in women. “We want every girl to feel good about who they are and what they look like,” Aerie said.
Dove’s Real Beauty campaign also had a similar goal, which was linking beauty to a sense of confidence rather than anxiety. This campaign included several videos, posters, advertisements and the use of social media to redefine beauty. Although this campaign was launched in 2004, it’s ongoing. It’s currently running the #RealBeautyIs campaign where people can type their own definition of beauty with the option to upload a picture or video.
There is beauty in every woman. Being a young woman obsessed with the Victoria’s Secret catalog, I know it is very easy to compare yourself to those models. However, it’s great to see all the new campaigns discussing this ongoing issue of what beauty really is. No more hiding under those comfy sweats and hoodies. It’s time to get some sun. Be confident and comfortable in your own body!