Tag Archives: commodification

Commodify Women Much? Care.org and Tapping Women

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Care.org poster

Before 6am this morning, I was wandering (read: running) through Orlando Airport to catch my flight to WIIS-Canada when I stopped (read: slowed down a little, I mean, I was really late) to read a billboard ad that called women “the world’s largest untapped resource.” I didn’t get a picture, or figure out who made the billboard at the time (read: real late), but I’ve been stewing about it all day, so I figured I would stew a little on RelationsInternational.

It was about six hours before I was able to research this and see where if came from: CARE.org. More on that soon. While I assumed it was well-intended, it still made me very angry: was I a keg in need of tapping? Or perhaps an oil reserve? Who has the right to decide to ‘tap’ me? Where is my agency? Isn’t there a contradiction between declaring oneself ‘powerful’ and calling, in passive voice, the same person an ‘untapped resource?’ This picture isn’t the poster that I saw, but it is similar – and, though I knew it was probably well-intended, I walked around most of the day feeling like, in addition to being an on-face ridiculous characterization, there is something violating about this ad campaign.  Things just got more complicated when I saw where it came from. CARE is a leading humanitarian organization with an impressive record overall, little negative press, and some decent gender analysis on their website. So, here’s the summary: the characterization is inaccurate; I feel guilty for being mad; and I’m (still) fighting mad. I’ll explain all three …

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