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Pro-gender equality as a fashion?

July 27, 2023

Kiwa Tomonari

A Japanese cosmetics brand called Canmake Tokyo has changed their jingle from "Girls are very enjoyable!"  to “You can meet KAWAII!” And the new jingle was highly praised especially by men who wear makeup. However, as of this writing, their website still carries their slogans "Girly, Pop & Shiny” and many people do not realize it.

Japanese Cosmetic Brand Changed Their jingle

Canmake Tokyo is a very popular brand among the younger generation in Japan for its reasonable pricing and considerable quality. Every girl might use the product at least once. At the end of the TV commercial, a woman says, "girls are very enjoyable” and this phrase has been representing this brand for many years. However, in 2020, the jingle has been changed to “you can meet kawaii!” 

A Japanese YouTuber Made CanMake Tokyo Realize Their Unconscious Bias

A Japanese male YouTuber named Riki Matsui, who has been sharing his makeup techniques and a big fan of Canmake Tokyo, uploaded a video in 2019 titled "is there anyone who likes Canmake Tokyo more than me?" In the video, he argued against the jingle emphasizing the word "girl," claiming that makeup has nothing to do with gender. This video has been viewed more than 300,000 times and after that, the brand stopped using this jingle and came up with a new one in 2020. In response to this change, he uploaded a video titled "Cammake's jingle became genderless!," expressing his delight at the change. Among favorable reactions on social networking sites were "Riki's voice has reached Canmake Tokyo." “I think it's a pretty big decision for a company to change the jingle.”

Superficial Consideration For Unconscious Bias

As a well-known brand, Canmake Tokyo's attention to gender has influenced many people. However, their English website still bears a slogan of "Girly, Pop & Shiny." “Girly” is used as an equivalent of Kawaii. There are many meanings for the word "Kawaii" such as "cute," "pretty," and "beautiful," but why did they choose this word, Girly, for its translation? Many people are not aware of the word “girl” while they are happy about the new gender-neutral jingle. Was the change of jingle not coming from the gender consideration, but a mere measure of avoiding to be disliked by consumers? While some people are sensitively looking into themselves,  many others easily agree with what someone else says without any thinking. The result was a double standard; overreacting to the gender of the jingle, not noticing the fact that “girl” remained in the slogan. This case shows unconscious bias, appearing by ignorance of language.

Consideration For Minorities Can Make Social Pressure

In recent years, the voices against unconscious bias have tended to create another “bias.” While it is important to be aware of unconscious bias, over superficial reaction is useless. Pretending that pro-gender equality as a fashion is a very rude and wrong attitude. Such an attitude forced Canmake Tokyo to react in an ad-hoc manner, which might lead them to shrink their marketing message further.





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