12 December 2016 Jim Harrison,
We read with interest today that Oxford University students are being asked by their student union to use the pronoun ‘ze’ rather than just ‘he’ or ‘she’ – the aim being to ensure transgender students feel more comfortable.
Though some may feel this represents political correctness gone mad, these (non-compulsory) ways of acknowledging difference and showing consideration are becoming increasingly common. From unisex public restrooms to the high-profile rise of ‘pansexuality’ (popular singer Héloïse Letissier from Christine and the Queens being one such high-profile proponent) – traditional rigid gender norms are shifting fast, with more fluid descriptors, messaging and lexicon taking their place.
And though brands are starting to wisen up to the power of widening their appeal and defying gender, and other, genres (the recent adverts for Maltesers featuring deaf and disabled actors being a memorable example: Maltesers Paralympic Ads), many still rely on traditional norms and stereotypes, thwarting their opportunity to be as innovative, open and progressive as they could or indeed should be. The best brands are those that capture imaginations and have cultural impact by successfully reflecting, or challenging, societal trends. We look forward to seeing who picks up the mantle in 2017…