In celebration of its seventh anniversary this October, Vogue India embarked on a social awareness initiative called #VogueEmpower to bring about a change in the way we perceive women’s right to empowerment. The idea is to raise awareness through the magazine and through social media, digital, multi-media platforms and offline activities, with a simple message ‘It starts with you’.
#VogueEmpower has brought together 150+ influencers and thought leaders from various sectors to become the agents of change, to initiate dialogue on women’s empowerment and mobilise people to think, talk and act in ways that highlight women’s empowerment.
While the magazine has been interviewing prominent women like playwright of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ Eve Ensler, activist Gloria Steinem, media magnate Arianna Huffington and journalist Barkha Dutt; covering inspirational real-life stories from everyday women who have overcome massive obstacles to lead fulfilled lives, it also features manifestos from icons of empowerment like author Taslima Nasreen, social activist Kiran Bedi and tennis star Maria Sharapova.
‘It starts with you’ goes digital
On the social and digital media front, #VogueEmpower is being supported through a dedicated website where one can go through the pledges taken by each of the influencers and know about the campaign’s mission. One can also shop for branded merchandise by top notch designers that will be available on Amazon, the funds of which will go to NGO Give India. Alternately, the site provides a link to donate to Give India and Chime for change, an initiative by Gucci.
Videos section is a interesting collection of short films and video messages by influencers. The initiative has teamed up with several creative people from the industry to come up with digital films with a message.
Musician, singer and record producer, A.R. Rahman has dedicated his latest album, Raunaq to this campaign. The album echoes the significance of the cause, women’s empowerment, with the song and video, ‘Laadli’, created with lyrics by Kapil Sibal and sung by Lata Mangeshkar.”
Uploaded on the 29th of September by Sony Music India, the video has crossed over 490K+ views.
Director of Queen, Vikas Bahl has created a short film titled ‘Going Home’, in which we visualise a utopia for women, where, unlike today, mistrust and fear don’t dictate actions and decisions. The 5.37 minute film featuring Ali Bhatt has crossed over 4 million views since being uploaded on the 17th of October. It has triggered more than 2K comments too.
Alia is driving back home in the night when her car breaks down. While there is nobody to help, she spots another car on the opposite side of the road with five men staring at her. The background score almost makes you jittery about what they will do with Alia. The men makes gestures at each other and while you suspect the usual thing that happens with a lonely girl, the film takes you by surprise. But, it brings you back from the ideal world with a thought provoking message.
Director Vinil Mathew created a two-minute film titled ‘#StartWithTheBoys’ featuring actress Madhuri Dixit. It highlights on how we bring up men from the time they are little boys by telling them ‘boys don’t cry’ and what this leads to. The film leaves with the message on what we should be teaching them instead – ‘boys don’t make girls cry’.
Uploaded ten days ago on the 21st of October, the video has crossed over 631K+ views and has over 500 comments.
The hashtag #VogueEmpower has been doing the rounds on social media, further amplified due to the influential people behind it and their large number of followers on Twitter and Facebook. Vogue India, on its part, has been spreading about the initiative through its own social media assets too.
Listed below are a few of the tweets on #VogueEmpower
— Alia Bhatt (@aliaa08) October 17, 2014
— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) October 27, 2014
— Rahul Mehra (@TheRahulMehra) October 6, 2014
— VOGUE India (@VOGUEIndia) October 6, 2014
Content is the king
October would have passed by us and we wouldn’t have known about #VogueEmpower, had it not been for its intelligent use of digital and social media to amplify the reach. Roping in celebrities from fashion, movies and the creative fields has definitely turned the tide in its favour, but the storytelling through short films is what has steered the initiative on social media.
While influencers are bringing in the much required funds to bring about a significant change in the lives of women, both urban and rural, the creative films have triggered conversations around the central message of the campaign – ‘It starts with you’. The campaign has made good use of social media to start a meaningful dialogue on women’s empowerment rather than it being reduced to a regular CSR campaign with influencers taking a pledge and fulfilling it.
Hoping Vogue continues to be an enabler of women-centric conversations and improvement beyond its anniversary celebrations.