The gender debate has left the glossy pages of fashion and lifestyle magazines to finally enter our everyday conversations.

This year FutureBrand, Hugo & Cat and UXUS have come together to collectively curate and celebrate the International Women's Day 2021 theme, #ChooseToChallenge. We are excited to announce that we have several initiatives planned to promote this important cause, celebrate our women and raise awareness around issues of gender inequality that still permeate workplaces around the world.

As brand consultants, the analysis and considerations around gender are part of our work. The brands we work for are not abstract entities, but living organisms with which we have constant exchanges and interactions. It is therefore inevitable to humanise them and to assign them a gender, it’s a way to feel them closer.

The easiest way to do so, at least until very recently, was to follow the target: brands meant for men were male, and brands addressing women were female. Today, genders have evolved and more people are no longer willing to be framed into a predefined cluster. The brands that are a direct expression of the environment they move in can no longer avoid this evidence.

It is quite evident that the desire driver - e.g. the one skilfully used by Victoria's Secret in their golden age - is no longer working (thankfully). The female body portrayed as a pleasure object by the famous “angels” is the expression of a male model that doesn’t resonate anymore.

This consideration leads us to a paradox: when we talk about desire, our body is exposed, shown and sexualised, when it comes to intimacy though, our body becomes a taboo. Just think about the way menstruation has been depicted for a long time: a problem, a hindrance that needed to be concealed because it was not publicly acceptable. Blood was shown in blue, and violet, but never in red.

These kinds of distortions were not limited to the personal care market, they were very frequent in the food industry's communications too. We have been pestered with wrong messages that have made us believe that there is only one beauty model and that we must do any kind of sacrifice to achieve that unique perfection. A perspective that has excluded “non-compliant” and different bodies.

The 'male gaze' is becoming a thing of the past, and we are moving forward to a more inclusive model, free from stereotypes and gender roles, where shapes, colours, heights, and weights are part of our uniqueness.

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