Violence against women: do you know purplewashing?


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In the fight against violence against women, laudable intentions can be diverted. This is called purple washing, when the fight against violence against women becomes a marketing argument.

Camaïeu’s last campaign did not pass. By hijacking the product sheets by inserting photos of models made up with bruises on their faces in order to broadcast the alert number 39 19 for violence against women, the brand has drawn the wrath of many people accusing the sign of “purple washing”. What does this term mean?

Formed in the manner of the term pinkwashing, which denounces the use of images of LGBT people by brands to appear progressive, or greenwashing, when brands adorn themselves with fake ecological virtues, purple washing designates the idea of ​​a brand that uses violence against women as a cause dedicated to giving itself a virtuous image without really taking action. Here, several people working against violence against women have denounced problems in the Camaïeu campaign.

Violence against women that we do not always see

The first disturbing aspect of Camaïeu’s campaign is the chosen target. It may seem clumsy to address women, the brand’s main customers, when they are victims of violence and often aware of their existence. Why not rather choose to address those who are, for the most part, the actors of the violence, the men? If Camaïeu is a brand aimed at women and the objective of distributing the emergency number for violence against women is laudable, why choose to distribute it with such violent images?

The second aspect that has caused controversy is linked to the representation of violence, considered caricatural. As we know, violence against women is often invisible. However, making up the models with false bruises can give the impression that the violence is necessarily visible. Mathilde Meslin, journalist, underlines it on Twitter: “As a reminder, domestic violence is not necessarily big rascals and especially not a communication tool.”.

Finally, the brand is accused of not taking into account the potential difficulty for victims to see these images during an action as innocuous as shopping on the Internet. The association Les Lionnes recalls: “You provoke in the former victims ‘flashes’ which will make them relive their hell at the sight of these photos. But no one wants to suffer this from Camaïeu. It’s violent and inappropriate.”

Camaïeu defends itself

The brand reacted with a press release published Thursday, January 27, 2022 on LinkedInto clarify his intentions: “Promote 3919 to ensure that uninformed victims (and relatives of victims) can find a listening ear, information and advice on treatment. The special operation on our incriminated site is part of a program complete set up since the beginning of January: number visible in all Camaïeu stores, in cabins and on our receipts, a 3919 t-shirt worn by the 2,300 employees of our network, a solidarity donation offered at the cash desk for the benefit of the SOLFA association.

The brand defends the “shock” aspect of this campaign, in order to be seen: “The visuals in question may have seemed disturbing to some of you, but we had to make them visible. We continue to believe that acting as a brand to increase awareness of 3919 is part of our duties and our commitments. .”

Missions: Mathilde is an expert in subjects related to women’s rights and health. Addicted to Instagram and Twitter, never stingy with a good …

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