Created by activist for-profit T-shirt company FCKH8.com, “Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism” is a video featuring young girls assertively challenging gender inequality and stereotypes while wearing tiaras and princess dresses. The video begins by showing young girls upholding stereotypical visions of girlhood in tiaras and princess dresses as they say “pretty.” The video quickly takes a sharp and explicit turn as one of the girls deflates the stereotype, cliaming, “What the fuck? I’m not a pretty fuckin’ helpless princess in distress.” The other girls join her to fight back against gender stereotypes, asking viewers to consider what is truly offensive–their language or the range of political and social inequities women face daily (the pay gap, sexual harassment and assault, slut shaming, beauty standards, etc.). The girls continually “drop the F-bomb” and use other strong language as they give these facts about inequality. The video ends with two adult women wearing the FCKH8 t-shirts (for sale for $15), who make light of the girls’ language and ask us to focus instead on the sexism that women still face.
Why did the creators of this video use the pink background and the girls (and boy) in princess dresses to advocate for women’s equality? Was this reinforcing gender stereotypes or an effective way to get their message across? Can it be both? Why?
What are the different intentions FCKH8 has in producing this content? Is the intent of the ad supposed to draw attention to an important issue, inform the general public, or generate profits from the sale of t-shirts? How might these goals conflict?
Why do the FCKH8 producers choose to feature young girls using language considered foul, taboo, obscene in order to convey their message? Did young girls dropping “the f-bomb” draw attention for the provocative language they used or to the cause they are supposed to be representing? Did you consider the language coming from the young girls offensive? Could the same point have been made without profanity?
What are the specific gender inequities the girls highlight, and what is significant about their use of statistics to make their points?
Would buying a shirt, such as the one advertised in the video (“girls just want to have FUN-damental rights”) be considered supporting gender equality? How else might you support related efforts towards social justice?
This video, along with others produced by FCKH8 that address race and racism, have been criticized for their exploitation of children. Critics wonder if the children asked to participate in these productions truly understand the lines they are being asked to recite, and whether they are receiving adequate payment and credit for their work. They further wonder if the use of children (instead of adults) belies the very lack of empowerment among women that the ad purportedly seeks to addresss.