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Nine West's New Ad Campaign is Kind of Sexist

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Nancy Sinatra once told us that her boots were made for walking, but apparently Nine West feels that shoes serve a completely different purpose.

The popular womens' shoe retailer recently released a bizarre string of ads promising that a purchase of any pair of their platform heels, booties or sandals will automatically snag you a husband (or a hook-up if you're not looking for commitment).

The shoes aren't what many of the store's customers are bothered by (even though it is a bit ridiculous to recommend someone wear a shoe called "Shindig Smoking Slippers" to watch their child take off on the bus to kindergarten). The backlash is coming from the fact that Nine West is attempting to sell women shoes based off of the idea that women wear the shoes for everyone but themselves.

"Starter Husband Hunting," as shown in the ad above, is just one of a few of Nine West's "Shoe Occasions" collections that the company debuted on Aug. 1. The other shoe occasions include "First Day of Kindergarten" for the mothers ready to do a shake and a shimmy in their platforms right after watching a school bus whisk their children away to school, and the oh-so-offensive "Anticipatory Walk of Shame." The accompanying ad for the latter occasion features a woman carrying a tote bag with a pair flip flops sticking out of it. 

After all of the backlash that the campaign has received on social media, Erika Szychowski, the company's senior vice president of marketing, released a statement defending the campaign, telling the New York Times, "We have to change the way we talk about occasions because women are modern now and shop for a different reason." Styles in "Starter Husband Hunting," for example, might have once been called "night-on-the-town shoes."

Mind you, the "inspirational" message following the "get-you-a-man" checklist on the ad reads, "Go get 'em Tiger. Whether you're looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now...we got a shoe for that." Because the only thing that will ever matter to a woman is finding a husband, right?

Kelly Goldsmith, a marketing professor at Northwestern University, commented on the ad campaign saying, "I just don't understand what Nine West is doing. As a woman and a wearer of shoes, this is patently ridiculous to me. As someone who works in marketing, I'm 100 percent positive there is a strategy here, I'm just not sure what it is. It feels like Nine West is trying to make a joke, but that's just not funny."

Of course, not everyone took offense to the ads. Some commenters on the company's Facebook page loved the idea behind the ad campaign and felt as though the shoes and the ads were very relatable. 

"My gut tells me that it's not offensive," Szychowski also told the New York Times. "And it's not just my gut but the incredibly active, large community of people that we work with both internally and externally - it's actually resonating for them."

What do you think, collegiettes? Do you think these ads are ridiculous, or are you ready to find your starter husband in these shoes? Let us know in the comments!


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