Hiram College

“Grab her by the p****” is viewed as wrong, but is “grab her by the brains” any better? What happens if you replace the word ‘grab’ with synonyms such as take, snag, grasp, or capture? Does that make it better? No.

In her article on Vox Media called, How the “Grab Her by the Brain” campaign tried and failed to advocate for women, Jenée Desmond-Harris introduces a campaign whose goal was to promote gender equality, but instead failed.  The campaign began shortly after the video of Donald Trump’s comment about women was released in early October.

The founder of the campaign, Elizabeth Ariosto, is a domestic violence survivor who dedicates her life to advocating for women’s rights and started the campaign called “Grab her by the Brains” with the intention to promote gender equality.  She states “My hope is that this campaign will bring every woman closer to achieving their greatest potential without the fear of being objectified or disempowered”.  So does a campaign called “grab her by the brains” really do that?  I can see the intention to promote the intellect of women, but this campaign instead is reinforcing the fact that women should be ‘grabbed’.  The campaign states that they hope females

  • “Be valued for their contribution to our communities…
  • Participate in our society without the fear of being objectified…
  • Feel confident, able, and willing to achieve their greatest potential…
  • Have access to equal opportunities as their gender counterpart…”

So with a campaign that is working so hard to empower women, I believe that they are doing just the opposite.  I am very supportive of empowering women, but at the end of the day I do not want to be grabbed. This campaign overall objectifies women yet again. Objects are grabbed, grasped, and taken; people are not.

The campaign through their website sells hats. Yes, hats that have written across the top “Grab Her By The Brain”.  They cost $21, with 10% of all proceeds going toward Boo2Bullying. That is $2.10 of each hat supporting an initiative to help the youth of America face challenging issues that are experienced through bullying. The irony of it is that this campaign to empower women funds an organization to help children that are bullied, but aren’t women being bullied in this campaign?

The media has a very large role in society today. What is said publicly can have a very large effect on people of every age in society. I think advertisers and entrepreneurs need to think twice on the word choice that is being used, but I think consumers need to also think before they engage in these slogans as well.  Without thinking twice about it, a person could buy a “Grab Her By The Brain” hat because they think they are supporting women.  In actuality, they are taking part in normalizing the language used to represent women.

Some food for thought:

  • Does the “Grab Her By The Brain” campaign overall promote the message of empowering women?
  • What has a worse message, Donald Trump’s “Grab her by the pussy” comment or the slogan “Grab Her by the Brain”
  • Should this campaign be able to raise money for a bullying organization with such a slogan?
  • Would you buy a hat to support this cause?