By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
It was one of the most iconic advertising campaigns ever created, and ever since U.S. film star Joanne Dosseau first uttered that famous phrase in a 30-second commercial back in 1971, women around the globe — both on-screen and off — have been echoing and tweaking that affirmative acknowledgement of their own inherent value, proudly declaring “I’m worth it, too.”
And while the tagline was originally intended to justify the fact that L’Oréal home hair color was more expensive than other brands, as the feminist movement around the world began to take shape in the 1970s and 1980s, the four-word slogan took on an life of its own, galvanizing an entire generation of women to put themselves first.
Fifty years later, L’Oréal Paris — the world’s largest cosmetic and haircare company — has, like the women it caters to, adapted to the times and has revamped that quintessential catchphrase to express the rights of all women to empower themselves.
In its official mission statement, L’Oréal makes no qualms about its unflinching commitment to defending women’s rights and female empowerment.
“When we say ‘we’re worth it,’ it’s not just a tagline, it’s a brand mission,” the company says on its website. “Taking your beauty into your own hands is empowering. Believing in your own beauty is something no one else can control. That is your power. L’Oréal Paris is working toward the day when you hear, ‘we’re worth it,’ and women everywhere will reply, ‘We never doubted it for a moment’.”
The company goes on to say that its goal is to continue empowering women by helping to break away from stereotypes and recognizing that self-esteem is a right, not a privilege, because beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and “every woman is worth it.”
Translating those words into action, on March 8, 2020, L’Oréal Paris launched an international campaign in partnership with the nonprofit Right To Be movement to fight sexual harassment of women in all forms.
Worldwide, about four in every five women experiences street harassment in her lifetime, and in Mexico, that figure jumps to a shocking 92 percent of adult women. And in less than 25 percent of those cases someone intervenes to defend the victim.
Stand Up against Street Harassment is an ongoing effort to end catcalls and other forms of verbal abuse of women in public places by raising awareness and providing training to more than 1.5 million people as to how to defend themselves and others against street harassment.
Over the last three years, the French beauty and skincare giant has produced a series of short videos and publications featuring 17 of its most famous commercial ambassadors, including Céline Dion, Helen Mirren, Eva Longoria, Katherine Langford, Cindy Bruna, Camila Cabello, Andie McDowell and Jaha Dukureh.
And this month, as part of its celebration of International Women’s Day, which falls on Wednesday, March 8, L’Oréal has selected five extraordinary Mexican women to join its ranks of Stand Up ambassadors.
During a gala Because-You’re-Worth-It fashion parade at Mexico City’s stately Soumaya Museum on Thursday, March 2, L’Oréal introduced these new spokespersons for it Stand Up campaign: Katya Echazarreta, the first Mexican woman to travel in outer space; Samantha Báez, founder of the Casa Gaviota center for battered women; film actress Renata Notni; television actress Samadhi Zendejas; and fashion designer Raquel Orozco.
Each of the new L’Óréal ambassadors strutted down the Soumaya catwalk proudly displaying their own amour-propre star quality, and then invited the guests to join in as they broke into a free-form dance with a parade of other women decked out in “because-you’re-worth-it” T-shirts.
By opening the public eye to the scale of harassment experienced by women, the Stand Up campaign aims to simultaneously discourage harassers, support victims and encourage bystanders to intervene, because we are all worth it.