Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All Things Fangirl Interview, an interesting response

My friend, Tarik sent me this message in response to the interview, I felt compelled to share it and my response with you, blog reader.
"One of the major barriers to really conceptualizing of an adventure from a "female" mindset, is that we really don't have a lot of female narrated parts of our culture. More importantly, the ones that do (Reality Shows, Sex in the City, excuse me while I throw up-thing on Lifetime) are hyper feminine and not very cerebral. I've been bugging some friends of mine to re-imagine She-Ra written by like Janeane Garafolo or Margaret Cho or something. But like, really push the envelope on "the transmedia" in ways it's never been done. I mean, intuitive viral marketing with puzzles that capture the ways women think about problems, real action sequences between women without stupid forced tinges of lesbianism to satisfy men (like...actual chick sword fight? Has there ever been one?), and a modernization & meditation of what being feminine looks like, cause it's certainly different than the stories we rehash on girls today. Additionally, marketing the media across platforms that women use, taking advantage of their usage patterns, not slapping it onto the Xbox 360 and calling it a day.

My ex taught me that women think in fundamentally different ways than men, and they have different collections of stuff in their mind at all times...This is essentially why the marketing of "girl-centric" stuff never works, cause it's basically how you'd market to dudes, if dudes liked pink girly unicorn stuff. Not how you market to GIRLS and WOMEN. Two different groups, that can be subdivided even further, as per development, which is on a different scale than men. None of these things are being utilized by traditional marketing firms, and the strategies they use with men are even being gender-maximized and ridiculous (peep any beer/axe/game/drink/shitty food commercial)... "
My response:

I've got a post going up on Friday about a marketing firm that deals specifically in products gauged towards women, the most surprising (probably not surprising, I prefer to be surprised by horrible things rather than cynical about prejudices) thing that came up in the article I read about them is that companies often reject empirical evidence in favor of stereotyping. Even when presented with research that tells them specifically what their market wants and needs.

Now, bringing up the point of "that's how you would market to men..." I think that the overall problem of marketing to stereotypes of the market applies there equally, gender- maximization being a problem for everyone.

The second part of the All Things Fangirl interview (going up soon) touches more on women in entertainment and some of our efforts at Starlight Runner to address some gender parity. For instance, did you know that there was a fight to include female drivers in Hot Wheels World Race, because "boys don't like playing with or watching female characters." I paraphrase, but it's an element of the same kind of thinking that you're addressing above. While I obviously tend to address the specific issue of how this affects girls and women, the thinking that creates these inequities applies to all segments of society.

Still, I think the nail is somewhat hit on the head in that to create something from the female mindset you have to have at least some people with the female mindset working on it. You see more and more women and firms of women for women in the marketplace and that can only be a good thing.

In the same way the greater voice geek culture has in the marketplace, I think, can only be a good thing. Giving some creative weight to fans and fandom, the people who actually like a product or property is essential to creating lasting and quality products and properties.

1 comment:

  1. I think I may have been misunderstood. When I say "market to men" I mean less who we're marketing to, but I think more, the mindset that we are marketing from, and the strategies we are using. For so long, the first perspective in culture has been assumed to be male, which has a host of reprecussions in every aspect of decision-making. My essential point was that we market to girls (as you helped to elucidate) from the perspective of a man marketing to his assumption as to what it would be like if "He was a girl."

    This is helped by exactly what you said, with more awesome girls joining the ranks of creating and implementing. Also, I feel like it's necessary, more importantly, to begin to challenge stereotypes, damaging gender roles and habituated advantages wherever they are. Which will be far more difficult. I think an important thing to begin to ask is not "how do we overcome these barriers" but "when we do, what do we want? how can we make it happen if these barriers were gone?"