How to engage with modern womxn: The new era of rebel girls

A new research report from 72andSunny and CrowdDNA’s New Narratives series identifies the cultural shifts in how womxn think, behave, and identify around the world, and how brands can best engage with them. Shadi Sarreshtehdarzadeh, strategy director at 72andSunny, explains.

The #MeToo movement might seem like a lifetime ago, but five years on, the aftershocks are continuing to impact the way womxn think and act – whilst many brands have yet to adapt to these new attitudes and behaviours.

As women shared their experiences, they created a shift in culture; demonstrating the ability to fracture the status quo and rebalance the power dynamic through collective conversation & challenging gendered narratives.

An era of relatable rebellion has since swept over the globe… From the biggest feminist revolution in the Middle East, to a stream of podcasts, tv shows and books in Western media , with womxn baring all (think Wellmania, Jeanette McCurdy, and Abbie Chatfield). We’re now seeing womxn grow more vocal, more open, and more rebellious. And in turn, the brands that are recognising, and reflecting this shift, are reaching new heights of success and engagement with modern womxn.

In partnership with the cultural analysts at CrowdDNA, we’ve been looking at the evolving narratives around womxn in culture and how brands can keep up with the shifting landscape to reinvigorate their appeal to modern womxn, talk their language, and stay relevant in the modern world.

In doing so, we needed a framework in which to analyse and articulate these stories – the iconic, jungian archetypes felt like a natural fit. And through this lens, we now see 

womxn reclaiming and reframing what it means to be a womxn and how they’re portrayed. Rebelling against the pigeonhole of more dominant stereotypes i.e. the ‘Innocent’, the ‘Caregiver’, or the ‘Lover’, and instead blending these, to be more relatable, more multi-faceted, more akin to the Every(wx)man.

Here are some of our key principles on how brands can relate to modern womxn:

Let your inside voice loose

As womxn are opening up, they are applauding brands that are opening up too. Be the forum for conversation. Explore your own gut feelings and inside voice – we all have one. Tena are making strides towards women opening up with their ‘Let’s Pee Honest’ podcast, getting women to feel comfortable about one of the last taboo’s: incontinence. Find ways to get honest. Whatever conversations you feel comfortable having with close friends, are likely also ready to be shared with consumers.

Get real, get gritty

Womxn are ready for the real, sometimes gritty truth. Being brave and bold has always paid off in advertising, but it’s now a crucial way to earn the respect of modern womxn. Libresse have paved the way for real conversations with their Womb Stories spot. Show things as they are with honesty and authenticity to resonate with your audience, and don’t be scared to push your boundaries. 

Don’t put them, or yourself, in a box

Womxn are celebrating all their quirks and facets, liberating themselves from the box that society has put them in and celebrating the freedom that comes with being your true self. Nike’s Fifa Women’s World Cup ‘What the Football’ spots were a prime example of celebrating women of all sorts and what makes them special individuals. Take a leaf out of their book and explore your own identity and feel free to push yourself out of the box you’ve put yourself in. 

Shadi Sarreshtehdarzadeh is strategy director at 72andSunny. 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.