Women Advertisement-Makers’ Standpoint on the Production of Beauty Product Advertisements as Negotiated Co-optation of Feminism

  • Julienne Thesa Y. Baldo-Cubelo


This paper rests on the premise that the experiences of Filipino women admakers
in making advertisements (ads) of beauty products places them in a
complex situation of “encoding” ad content. Using feminist standpoint theory
and muted group theory, this article answers the question: what is the context
of women advertisement-makers’ negotiated participation in the co-optation
of feminism in beauty product advertisements? As a contribution to theorizing
feminist standpoints, this article is an interpretive account of a position that falls
within a spectrum limited by an epistemological articulation of mutedness on
one end and situated knowledge from active participation in the production of
media advertisement texts on the other.

Using maximum variation sampling, twelve women advertisement makers were
included in in-depth semi-structured interviews; another twelve were included
in two focus group discussions (FGDs). Qualitative analysis reveals that the admakers’
negotiated co-optation of feminist ideologies can be categorized into
three types: co-optation as living in conflict, co-optation as living in affirmation,
and co-optation as living in paradox. The findings affirm the paper’s argument
that, privileged as they are, these ad-makers are still a subjugated group within
the ad industry. Their situated subjugation within the ad industry, however, is not
the binary opposite of the dominant standpoint. While this standpoint sometimes
echoes the ideology of the dominant language or the neoliberal capitalist
language that is often heteronormative and masculine, it is often ambivalently
positioned against the latter. This calls for a continued analysis of the players
behind media texts not just through a normative economic rationality, but
through a socio-cultural examination of embodied standpoints.



standpoint, advertising industry, beauty products, situated knowledge, muted group